George Floyd murder trial: Minneapolis top cop says use of force 'totally unnecessary'
Trial over George Floyd's death: In what is being regarded as a 'devastating testimony', Minneapolis' longest-serving police officer, Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, said in court that the use of force by former officer Derek Chauvin in the events that led to Floyd's death was "totally unnecessary".
On the fifth day of the trial over George Floyd's death, the longest-serving detective in the Minneapolis Police Department, Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, testified that former police officer Derek Chauvin's use of force was "totally unnecessary", according to news agency AFP.
Chauvin faces multiples charges of second and third-degree murder and third-degree manslaughter, for the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minnesota's Minneapolis on May 25 last year. Eyewitness reports, police bodycam footage, and viral videos from the site all point to the fact that Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, while the latter lay face down, handcuffed, on the street. This resulted in George Floyd's death, medical examiners had concluded in two separate autopsies.
Derek Chauvin became the first white police officer in Minnesota to be charged with the death of a Black civilian. His murder trial began on March 8, following intense 'Black Lives Matter' protests across the world in solidarity with the fundamental rights of the people of colour.
Lieutenant Zimmerman, head of the homicide division in the Minneapolis police department for over 12 years, testified on Friday that Derek Chauvin had violated departmental policies on the use of force by pressing his weight down on George Floyd's neck. Police officers are not trained to carry out such actions, he said, let alone "restricting a person's breathing" for over nine minutes, reported CNN, citing Court TV footage of the trial.
"How can that person hurt you?" Lieutenant Zimmerman testified in the court after cross-examining security footage from the scene, according to the media network. He noted that trained police officers know "threat level goes down all the way once a person is cuffed" and said that under such circumstances, the use of force by Derek Chauvin was "uncalled for" and "totally unnecessary".
The trial over George Floyd's death is one of the most closely-watched criminal cases in recent American history. The trial opened on Monday and included the prosecution’s opening remarks centred on a bystander video of Floyd’s death. Protesters were seen gathering outside the Fourth Judicial District Court of Minnesota, showing the interest that people had in the trial. Ben Crump, a lawyer for George Floyd’s family, told supporters on Monday that “the whole world is watching.”
In addition to Derek Chauvin, three other officers of the Minneapolis police department, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, have also been charged for aiding and abetting second-degree murder, as they assisted Chauvin in restraining George Floyd and prevented bystanders from intervening in the subsequent events. The criminal case against Kueng, Lane and Thao is set to go on trial on August 23 later this year.