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For the second day in a row, a high-ranking Minneapolis Police officer testified that Chauvin’s use of force was excessive, Esme Murphy reports (2:56) WCCO 4 News At 5 - April 2, 2021
FRANK VASCELLARO: The jury and millions of people watching live around the country have a two day break after an emotional first week of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial. Eventually, the trial in Minneapolis that is making headlines everywhere will narrow down to one question, whether the former police officer is guilty or not guilty of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.
AMELIA SANTANIELLO: Videos played in court this week show Chauvin restraining Floyd with a knee to his neck for more than nine minutes last May. Witness testimony has included bystanders who pleaded for Chauvin to stop. Floyd's girlfriend recalled their shared struggle with opioid addiction. And for the second day in a row, a ranking Minneapolis police officer testified that Chauvin's use of force was excessive. This time the testimony came from the longtime head of the homicide unit Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman. We have team coverage of the end of the first week of testimony starting with Esme Murphy.
ESME MURPHY: Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, seen in still shots in the jacket and tie, was the highest ranking Minneapolis officer to respond to the scene after George Floyd was taken away in an ambulance. On the force since 1985, he has reviewed all of the bystander and body camera video from the scene.
MATTHEW FRANK: Have you ever in all the years you've been working for the Minneapolis Police Department been trained to kneel on the neck of someone who is handcuffed behind their back in a prone position?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: No, I haven't.
MATTHEW FRANK: If that were done, would that be considered force?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely.
MATTHEW FRANK: What level of force might that be?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: That would be the top tier, the deadly force.
MATTHEW FRANK: Why?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Because of the fact that if your knee is on a person's neck, that can kill them.
ESME MURPHY: Chauvin took extensive notes throughout his testimony. Zimmerman was asked directly about the force used by Chauvin against Floyd.
MATTHEW FRANK: What is your view of that use of force during that time period?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Totally unnecessary.
MATTHEW FRANK: What do you mean?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Well, first of all, pulling him down to the ground face down and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time is uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger.
ESME MURPHY: The defense went on the attack trying to discredit Zimmerman's knowledge of current training.
- You are not a trainer in the Minneapolis Police Academy relevant to the use of force, correct?
RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: That's correct. Yes.
ESME MURPHY: George Floyd's brother Philonise was back in court again today. He told the pool reporter that he and other family members can't stop crying as they continue to hear this ongoing testimony. Esme Murphy, WCCO 4 News.