What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Chauvin’s actions were in ‘no way, shape, or form’ part of protocol, police chief says

The Derek Chauvin trial resumed Monday, with the prosecution arguing the former Minneapolis police officers' use of force did not follow protocol. The city's chief of police testified on the matter. Special correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro has our report and Uzodima Frank Aba-Onu, a civil attorney and president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, also joins us to discuss the matter.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the Derek Chauvin trial today, the prosecution examines the former Minneapolis police officer's use of force and whether kneeling on Mr. Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes violated protocol.

    Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

  • And a note:

    This report contains disturbing images from Mr. Floyd's death that were shown during testimony.

  • Fred de Sam Lazaro:

    During the sixth day of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial, prosecutors called Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to the stand.

  • Steve Schleicher:

    Up until May 26, 2020, an individual named Derek Chauvin was a Minneapolis police officer; is that right?

  • Police Chief Medaria Arradondo:

    That is correct.

  • Fred de Sam Lazaro:

    The city's top cop, who fired Chauvin after the death of George Floyd, is the first African American to hold the position. Chief Arradondo spoke to alternative methods Minneapolis police officers are trained in, including de-escalation.

  • Medaria Arradondo:

    De-escalation is providing a knowledge base or skills, in this case for officers to really focus on time options and resources. It's really primarily trying to provide an opportunity to stabilize a situation, to de-escalate it, and — with the goal is having a safe and peaceful outcome.

  • Steve Schleicher:

    Minneapolis Police Department also has a professional policing policy; is that right?

  • Medaria Arradondo:

    Yes, it's really about treating people with dignity and respect above all else, at the highest level.

  • Fred de Sam Lazaro:

    Arradondo recalled reviewing footage of the incident soon after learning that Mr. Floyd had been transported via ambulance.

  • Steve Schleicher:

    Do you believe that the defendant followed departmental policy?

  • Medaria Arradondo:

    I absolutely do not agree with that.

  • Steve Schleicher:

    Do you have a belief as to when this restraint, the restraint on the ground that you viewed, should have stopped?

  • Medaria Arradondo:

    Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped.

    There's an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds, but once there was no longer any resistance, and, clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy.

    It's not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.

  • Fred de Sam Lazaro:

    Also on the stand today, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, the emergency room physician who pronounced George Floyd dead.

    Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said Mr. Floyd had been in cardiac arrest for 60 Minutes before he called his time of death.

  • Jerry Blackwell:

    Was your leading theory then for the cause of Mr. Floyd's cardiac arrest oxygen deficiency?

  • Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld:

    That was one of the more likely possibilities. I felt, at the time, based on the information I had, it was more likely than the other possibilities.

  • Fred de Sam Lazaro:

    The cause of Floyd's death is a key argument in the case, with prosecutors saying that oxygen deprivation was caused by Chauvin's actions.

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson has argued that a drug overdose, along with an underlying heart condition, were responsible.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," this is Fred de Sam Lazaro.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Let's talk more about what we heard from police Chief Arradondo today and the wider reaction to the testimony so far.

    Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu is a civil attorney and president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, and he has been following the trial closely.

    Mr. Aba-Onu, thank you very much for joining us.

    First of all, tell us what your reaction has today from hearing from the police chief, Mr. Arradondo?

  • Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu:

    Thank you for having me.

    And I think today is one of those days where it kind of comes full circle in a little bit, because special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said he is going to provide us a bouquet of humanity and show us people who witnessed this accident, this murder.

    And you have the chief, who is, like the defense attorney said, the general of the Minneapolis Police Department, the top and the head, who is speaking out about what he saw, and said that there is no way that what happened was by policy, design, good policing, any of that.

    And I think, for the BIPOC community, for people here in Minneapolis, to see the chief of police say that, it is just something that really expresses how wrong what happened in May of 2020 was.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And what is the significance that this is coming from the chief of police? How unusual is it for someone in his position to be testifying against one of his own, in this case, former officers?

  • Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu:

    Highly unusual.

    And when we think about this, having him testify really speaks to this community. You heard the chief. He is from Minneapolis. You know, he was born and raised here. And he rose up from the ranks, and now he is chief. So, he speaks not only to the Minneapolis community as a whole, the Minnesota community at a whole, but the Black community here in Minneapolis and Minnesota and the world around.

    So, having someone of his ranking status speak out, again, I — my words would not do it justice.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    What — you mentioned the Black community, the community of people of color there.

    What are you hearing? What are — the kind of reactions are you hearing from the community to the trial so far, including some of the very emotional testimony we heard last week?

  • Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu:

    You know, I think it is twofold, right?

    You have people expressing thanks that the trial is open, right, it is televised, but not many people understood what a criminal trial looked like. So, this is eye-opening to see the process, to see the detail, the care and advocacy that the prosecution is showing.

    And also, especially with the testimony last week, we had children. We had older individuals, we had white people, Black people, everyone speaking up from their hearts. And the courage that it took for them to stand up and to say it to the officers at the time, but to also come to the trial, and for us to listen to that and to revisit that trauma, it is powerful in so many respects.

    And think it just speaks volumes to the people we have in the city.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And you mentioned trauma. Talk about what that means, Mr. Aba-Onu, to hear this — essentially, we have heard a death described over and over again from multiple people who were there when it took place.

  • Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu:

    You know, it — seeing this in May 2020 — and me, my wife, we live in South Minneapolis 20 or so blocks away from this. So this is our home.

    And seeing that video and just seeing the reaction we had of the world, not just Black and brown people, but the world, and now we're revisiting that. And so for Black and brown people, seeing that, I will call it torture of an individual for nine minutes and 29 seconds, I can't imagine what Mr. Floyd's family is feeling, let alone the witnesses who testified and relived that trauma, because, for me, watching that, it was painful, because I had to revisit it over and over again.

    But it is necessary. It is necessary for us to get justice. But it doesn't stop it from being any less painful.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And is it fair to say the community is coming together in a way over this, or essentially holding their breath to see what the outcome of this trial is?

  • Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu:

    I think a bit of both.

    Honestly, I think that having the wide variety of individuals who have testified so far shows that there is a lot of support for the prosecution in this case. But I wouldn't lie to you to say that this has happened to Black folks over and over again.

    And we have asked that there be some justice and some change, and we haven't really gotten that in a lot of circumstances. So, there are people holding liar their breath and hoping that justice will be served in this instance.

    And this is the arena. This is a chance for that to happen. But I, among others, would probably say I'm waiting for the day when the jury tells us their decision, because you just never know.

    But I'm hoping, based on what we have seen, that we do touch people and they understand that this was murder.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Frank Aba-Onu, who is president of the Minnesota Association of Black lawyers, we thank you very much.

  • Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu:

    Thank you.

Listen to this Segment