A former Minneapolis police officer said Derek Chauvin violated protocol kneeling on George Floyd's neck, but he doesn't think the officer committed a crime

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Ashley Collman
·4 min read
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derek chauvin.JPG
A courtroom sketch of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at his trial. Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
  • Insider spoke with an officer who recently left the Minneapolis Police Department.

  • He said officers were not trained to kneel on suspects' necks, as Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd.

  • But he said he believed that Floyd died of a drug overdose and was not killed by Chauvin.

  • A cardiologist testified Monday that Floyd from a "cardio pulmonary arrest" caused by the "position that he was subjected to."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A former Minneapolis police officer told Insider that Derek Chauvin violated protocol while kneeling on George Floyd's neck for several minutes last year but that he didn't think the officer's actions led to Floyd's death.

The former officer, who spoke with Insider on the condition of anonymity, left the department days before Chauvin's trial started on March 29. The former officer's identity is known to Insider.

'I never taught the officers to kneel on anybody's neck'

The former officer said he believed that Chauvin couldn't get a fair trial in Minneapolis and that the trial should have been moved elsewhere.

He said he also didn't buy Chauvin's claim that he was following departmental procedure during the arrest. That sentiment was echoed at the trial, where Chief Medaria Arradondo of the Minneapolis Police Department testified that Chauvin's hold on Floyd was not part of the department's training.

"I was a use-of-force instructor," the former officer told Insider. "I never taught the officers to kneel on anybody's neck."

He added: "We were told to put the knee on shoulders, on the top of the back, but never on their neck. It's just not a good thing to do."

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A mural of George Floyd seen February 8 outside the corner store where he died. AP Photo/Jim Mone

But the former officer also said that he didn't believe Chauvin's hold caused Floyd's death and that Chauvin should not be convicted of the charges against him. Chauvin is being tried on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The former officer said he believed Floyd died of a drug overdose, citing the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's autopsy report.

That report concluded that Floyd's death was a homicide but listed the cause of death as a "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression" - which meant Floyd's heart stopped as he was being restrained.

The autopsy also showed that Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system. Fentanyl is a super-strong synthetic opioid, and researchers say just 3 milligrams of it is enough to kill an average-size man.

The key challenge of the case is convincing the jury what caused Floyd's heart to stop: Chauvin's kneeling on Floyd's neck, as the prosecution argues, or a combination of a heart issue and drugs, as the defense argues.

"I've seen overdoses before, and what I saw was basically George Floyd dying of an overdose," the former officer said, referring to bystander videos of Floyd's arrest. "That's what it appears like to me."

At Chauvin's trial on Monday, a cardiologist testified that Floyd did not die of a heart attack or a drug overdose, but from a "cardio pulmonary arrest" caused by the "position that he was subjected to."

An independent autopsy paid for by Floyd's family and released last June differed from the official report, saying the cause of death was mechanical asphyxiation - strangulation as a result of compressing the neck.

'The world is looking for blood'

The former officer said that while he believed that Chauvin didn't cause Floyd's death, he still thought the jury could end up convicting Chauvin.

"I think the world is looking for blood right now, looking for justice for George Floyd," the former officer said.

He told Insider he also believed that the trial, no matter the outcome, could lead to violent protests in the city.

"That's why I left," he said. "I'm not going to get myself killed or injured before I retired."

In fact, protests once again flared in Minneapolis on Sunday night following the news that a 20-year-old Black man had shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop.

When contacted for comment, a Minneapolis city spokesman told Insider he was "unable to discuss any aspects of the trial or case" because of a judicial mandate. The city now handles the police department's press inquiries after the city council voted to do away with the department's public-information officer after Floyd's death.

Read the original article on Insider