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Derek Chauvin Trial, Day 7: Officer Who Trained Chauvin And LAPD Use Of Force Expert Testify

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The trial for Derek Chauvin changed course a bit today, Esme Murphy reports (3:04). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 6, 2021

Video Transcript

- The trial for Derek Chauvin changed course, a bit, today.

- Jurors have already heard emotional testimony from witnesses. Today, they started hearing from experts. And the shift allowed the defense to ask many more questions. Esme Murphy's following the trial. She is near the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. Esme?

ESME MURPHY: Hi there, Frank. Well today, we are getting to the part of the trial where we are shifting into expert witnesses that are going to dominate the testimony. We heard from Minneapolis police and a national expert on the use of police force, all key witnesses for the prosecution. Sergeant Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department is the first of a series of paid experts we will hear from.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: What is your opinion as to the degree of force used by the defendant on Mr. Floyd on the date in question?

JODY STIGER: My opinion was that the force was excessive.

ESME MURPHY: Sergeant Stiger did say the officers were justified using force against George Floyd when he was resisting being placed in the squad car. But that should have changed when he was on the ground.

JODY STIGER: At that point, the officers, ex-officers, I should say, they should have slowed down or stopped their force, as well.

ESME MURPHY: Under cross-examination, officer Nicole Mackenzie of the Minneapolis Police Department testified she trained officers in responding to a highly-agitated condition called excited delirium, something the defense has suggested Floyd was experiencing.

NICOLE MACKENZIE: And so excited delirium, it's a combination of psychomotor agitation, psychosis. So somebody experiencing this, they might have what we call superhuman strength.

ESME MURPHY: Also testifying, Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Johnny Mercil, who actually trained officer Chauvin in the use of force. Mercil testified that Chauvin did not follow Minneapolis police policy on force, a policy that recognizes the medical dangers of the position Floyd was in.

JOHNNY MERCIL: There is the possibility and risk that some people have difficulty breathing when the handcuffs are behind their back and they're on their stomach.

ESME MURPHY: And Mercil did say later in the incident, officer Chauvin's knee did appear to shift.

ERIC NELSON: You can see Mr. Floyd's head in that area.

JOHNNY MERCIL: Yes, sir.

ERIC NELSON: And Mr. Chauvin, officer Chauvin's knee between the shoulder blades of Mr. Floyd?

JOHNNY MERCIL: Yes, sir.

ERIC NELSON: Does this appear to be a neck restraint?

JOHNNY MERCIL: No, sir.

ESME MURPHY: Now today, we did get a big clue on how this trial is moving along. The defense says they've scheduled a witness for next Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM. That would mean that the prosecution will have finished their case by then and will have rested.

- All right, Esme Murphy, thank you. CBSN Minnesota is your source for live updates during the Derek Chauvin trial. We are streaming the entire trial with extensive team coverage and analysis. You can watch it free on any device with the CBS News app or simply go to wcco.com.