For the first time in the trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin, a witness explicitly defended his actions when he knelt on George Floyd for nine and a half minutes.
Barry Brodd, an expert on the use of force who was called to testify by the defense, said on Tuesday that Mr. Chauvin had been justified in his actions, and that he did not consider the restraint that Mr. Chauvin used — keeping Mr. Floyd pinned under his knee while handcuffed and facedown on the street — a use of force. (Mr. Brodd later acknowledged that the restraint did qualify as a use of force under the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department.)
Mr. Brodd’s testimony contradicted that of numerous witnesses who were called by the prosecution, including other use-of-force experts and the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The defense also called several other witnesses, including a woman who was in the car with Mr. Floyd just before police officers arrived.
As the defense called its witnesses to the stand, officials in Minnesota scrambled to deal with the fallout from the fatal shooting of a Black man by a police officer in suburban Minneapolis over the weekend. The officer who fired the fatal shot, as well as the police chief for Brooklyn Center, the suburb where the shooting happened, both resigned on Tuesday.
Here are key takeaways from Day 12 of the trial.
Mr. Brodd said that the officers who arrested Mr. Floyd had acted appropriately every step of the way. “I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, and was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” he said. Mr. Brodd also said that Mr. Chauvin’s actions did not qualify as a use of force at all, and that the fact that Mr. Floyd died did not mean Mr. Chauvin had used “deadly force.” He compared the situation to that of a police officer who uses a Taser, only to have the suspect fall back, hit their head and die. Though the suspect died, the initial use of force could still be reasonable, he said. Mr. Brodd also said the prone position in which Mr. Floyd was kept for nine and a half minutes was safe, did not typically hurt suspects and was an accepted way to control someone during an arrest.