When prosecutor Jerry Blackwell spoke to the jury for the first time in Derek Chauvin’s murder last week, he stood out from the list of witnesses who wished to testify: the witness witnessed this A former military officer bent his knees around George Floyd’s neck for nine months. 2 minutes and 29 seconds, handed over to forensic pathologists, experts in the use of force and members of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The most important in this long list is the most senior member of the department, Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Of course, criminal trials for suspected deaths are rare, but experts say that it is still rare for the chief of police to testify against one of his former officials, perhaps unprecedented.
Arradondo’s testimony is likely to be a powerful weapon in the prosecution, because the defense will try to argue that Derek Chauvin’s long-term use of knee-to-neck restraints is consistent with the use of force guidance.
Dr. Cedric Alexander, former police chief and director of public safety in DeKalb County, Georgia, said: “This is a very remarkable move in terms of prosecution.”
He added: “Very few people will see the chief appearing for defense or prosecution. However, each of these incidents has its own set of circumstances. In this particular situation, your knees are bent and you are questioned. “Is that a trained technique? “It is obviously important to be able to have the chief of police… testify under oath.”
Although a spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department would not comment on the nature of the Chief’s testimony, Blackwell made it clear in his opening statement that Aladodo is unlikely to play a role.
Blackwell said: “He will tell you that Mr. Chaweng’s behavior does not match the training of the Minneapolis Police Department.” “He will not break anything. He knows it well. He will be very decisive because it is. Excessive force.”
A unanimous decision needs to be made to convict Qiaowan on the three crimes he faced, including second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter, to make his testimony strong, and the large amount of video and medical evidence necessary for the prosecution.
In contrast, in 2016, in the murder trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, he shot and killed the unarmed Walter Scott from the back as he escaped. . Testify for the defense. Driggers told the jury that Slager appeared to have followed the department’s guidance before firing and called him a “very good officer” when he testified.
The judge finally reached a deadlock with the jury at an 11:1 ratio, convicted the jury, and finally pronounced the trial failed. Sliger later pleaded guilty to federal civil rights crimes in another indictment and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Minneapolis’ first black police chief, Arradondo, a tortured lifelong veteran of the police force, took office in 2017 and became the focus of national attention immediately after Floyd’s death. Faced with severe criticism from the Minneapolis Police Union, he spent a few days dismissing the four police officers involved in the incident, who accused him of “acting without due process”.
“This is an invasion of humanity,” Arradondo said days after Floyd was killed. “This violates the oath of most men and women who wear this uniform. [take] -This is absolutely contrary. This runs counter to our beliefs. “
At the same time, most members of the city council were exploring efforts to disband the entire police force, and later voted to transfer $8 million of important police funds to other public services, including a new mental health team established in response to certain 9/11 calls. After the city’s uprising, the department also saw an “astounding” number of soldiers seeking disability compensation, raising concerns about personnel shortages.
“The dean is under tremendous pressure,” said Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general of the United States and co-chair of Barack Obama’s 21st Century Police Task Force. Michael Brown was founded after the death of Ferguson, Missouri. “This may be the most difficult police chief job in the country at the moment. In the tension of this trial, the community’s pressure on George Floyd’s death, between the demand for departmental reforms and the protection of the community, This is the hardest thing that is related to the rising gun violence and crime.”
Some local activists acknowledge the importance of Arradondo’s upcoming testimony, but think this is just the first step.
“He will testify against Chauvin, which is a good thing, but at the same time, we need justice,” said DJ Hooker, a 26-year-old local organizer of the Black Life Movement. “Convicting Chauvin, this is one way of justice. Convicting the other three killer policemen is another way of getting justice. Moreover, systemic changes are taking place. This is justice. This is what we need. The goal you are trying to achieve.”
Hook pointed out that the need to strengthen the community’s control over the hiring and dismissal of officials through an elected civil affairs committee is an example of systemic change.
Alexander is also the former chairman of the Black American Law Enforcement Executive Organization. He said that Aradodo was the city’s first black chief, and this fact may put more pressure on the testimony. In 2007, then Lieutenant Arradondo himself and four other police officers sued the department on grounds of racial discrimination. The settlement in the case was $740,000.
“When white officers and black subjects are involved, of course you have to be the person in charge of color and be so sensitive to race. This may put additional pressure on the person in charge of color. But the reality is that you will treat you like any other situation. Deal with this problem. That’s the fact, that’s the balance.”
Both Robinson and Alexander agreed that Arradondo’s testimony may lead to more police chiefs being called to the witness stand in the future.
“Of course the public demands greater transparency and accountability. Therefore, I would not be surprised if you see more and more police executives being asked to respond, whether for defense or prosecution.