Defense use of force expert testifies Derek Chauvin's treatment of George Floyd was 'objectively reasonable'

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Haven Orecchio-Egresitz
·4 min read
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Barry Brodd, Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin's defense called Barry Brodd as a use of force expert. Court TV/Pool camera
  • Derek Chauvin's defense began to present its case Tuesday.

  • The defense called a use of force expert who said Chauvin's actions were justified and reasonable.

  • Bary Brodd's statements totally diverged from the testimony of previous law enforcement witnesses.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's defense kicked off their case Tuesday, calling witnesses including a use of force expert who said Chauvin's treatment of George Floyd was "objectively reasonable."

Former Santa Rosa, California, police officer Barry Brodd's statements were completely different from the testimony of the prosecution's law enforcement experts - including Minneapolis Police Department leadership - who previously told jurors Chauvin should have stopped using once Floyd was handcuffed and no longer resisting.

Brodd's testimony followed that of Shawanda Hill, George Floyd's ex-girlfriend who was in the car on the day of his death, and other law enforcement witnesses.

Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter. Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on him while he was handcuffed and prone for more than nine minutes.

Brodd, though, felt that Floyd was resisting arrest. He said Chauvin was justified in putting Floyd face down on the ground, handcuffed behind the back, with his knee on top of him.

"Any resistance, handcuffed or not, should go to a proned control position," Brodd said, adding that it keeps both the suspect and the officer safe.

Several medical and policing experts previously testified that it's the duty of officers on scene to render aid to suspects during a medical emergency, which Chauvin didn't do.

But Brodd told jurors officers are justified in keeping suspects handcuffed - especially if they are believed to be under the influence of drugs - while they wait for an ambulance.

"I've trained and I've been trained that when you're dealing with a drug-influenced person they stay handcuffed," he said.

Medical experts previously testified positional asphyxia, or being unable to breathe properly while being proned, caused Floyd's death. Brodd testified positional asphyxia is a threat to obese suspects and not necessarily to people of healthy weights.

He said that protocol is to turn someone who was proned and restrained into the "recovery position" on their side, but only if space allows it. In this case, Brodd said Floyd was in between a police cruiser and the street and there was no room to turn him over.

"I felt that Chauvin's interactions with Mr. Floyd were following his training, following current practices in policing, and were objectively reasonable," he testified.

Derek Chauvin
A photo of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd was submitted as evidence. Pool video, Court TV

The defense painted the crowd around Floyd as a threat

Brodd's testimony also diverged from from that of previous witnesses when it came to the crowd at the scene of Floyd's death.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson was leading witnesses, specifically those who worked in law enforcement, to testify the men, women, and children who had gathered at the scene of Chauvin's interaction with Floyd was distracting for Chauvin. Minneapolis police leaders had said Chauvin couldn't be justified in using force because of a potential threat somewhere else.

Those who were outside Cup Foods that day also testified that the people on scene might have been loud and upset, but not in a threatening way.

Brodd testified that the crowd "started to grow in size, started to grow more vocal" and became the biggest threat to Chauvin at the time because Floyd was controlled on the ground.

"I could see that Officer Chauvin's focus started to move from Mr. Floyd to the crowd," he said. "Now he's dealing with the bigger threat."

The prosecution forced Brodd to walk some comments back

Brodd initially testified that when Chauvin was holding Floyd to the ground while he was handcuffed, Chauvin was not using force, but maintaining a control hold instead.

He testified that it wasn't a use of force unless the officer was causing pain.

Prosecutor Steven Schleicher pushed Brodd on these comments. He asked whether Chauvin's hold would be a use of force if it did cause pain; Brodd said that it could be.

Brodd's testimony that Chauvin wasn't using force while holding Floyd to the ground was based on the premise that he wasn't causing pain. But he never noted in his written analysis that Floyd was recorded telling officers "everything hurts."

"Using your face to lift your body off the pavement, that would cause pain," Schleicher said.

"That could cause pain," Brodd responded.

Even when Floyd was on the ground, he wasn't being compliant, Brodd testified.

He told Schleicher that a compliant person would have their hands "resting comfortably" on his back. Floyd, he said, had his arm moving at one point while on the ground.

"So attempting to breathe while restrained is being slightly non-compliant?" Schleicher asked.

"No," he responded.

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