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Chauvin was trained to defuse situations


MINNEAPOLIS, United States (AP) — Former Officer Derek Chauvin underwent training in 2016 and 2018 on how to defuse tense situations with people in crisis and how police must use the least amount of force necessary to get someone to comply, the jury at Chauvin’s murder trial was told yesterday.

Sgt Ker Yang, the Minneapolis police official in charge of crisis-intervention training, and use-of-force instructor Lt Johnny Mercil became the latest department members to testify as part of an effort by prosecutors to demolish the argument that Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he put his knee on George Floyd’s neck last May.

Yang said officers are taught to make critical decisions in dealing with people in crisis, including those suffering mental problems or the effects of drug use, and then de-escalate the situation. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said records show that Chauvin attended a 40-hour course on the method in 2016.

“When we talk about fast-evolving situations … a lot of the time we have the time to slow things down and re-evaluate and reassess and go through this model,” Yang said.

Records also show that Chauvin took in-service training in the use of force in October 2018. Mercil said those who attended were taught that the sanctity of life and protection of the public are the cornerstone of the department’s use-of-force policy.

He also said officers were taught that restraint is considered force and that they must use the least force required because “it’s safer and better for everybody involved.”

Schleicher showed a still image taken from bystander video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck — one that jurors have seen several times — and asked Mercil: “Is this a use of force?”

“Yes, sir,” Mercil replied.

Mercil said officers are trained in how to get control of a suspect by using their arms on the side of a person’s neck to slow blood flow to the brain. He said officers are not taught to use their legs or knees, though a knee on the neck can happen depending on a person’s resistance.

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