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World

Police used inappropriate 'deadly force' on Floyd: expert

  • "An officer is only allowed to use a level of force that is proportional to the seriousness of the crime, or the level of resistance," he said.
Updated 08 Apr 2021

MINNEAPOLIS: The police officer accused of murdering George Floyd used inappropriate "deadly force" when kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, an expert told a court in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Jody Stiger, a use-of-force specialist testifying for the prosecution, was questioned at the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white officer seen in phone footage kneeling on Floyd, who was Black.

The harrowing images of Floyd's arrest in May 2020 touched off protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Stiger, a Los Angeles police officer, said that Chauvin's actions were "deadly force" because Floyd "was in the prone position."

"The pressure... being caused by (Chauvin's) body weight could cause positional asphyxia, which could cause death," Stiger said, after being shown pictures of the scene.

Asked how much force was reasonable when Floyd was lying on his front, handcuffed and not resisting, Stiger said "no force should have been used once he was in that position."

"An officer is only allowed to use a level of force that is proportional to the seriousness of the crime, or the level of resistance," he said.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Stiger if use-of-force sometimes "looks bad, but it's still lawful."

Stiger agreed, saying "yes, based on that department's policies or based on that state's law."

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Floyd's death was due to asphyxiation, while Chauvin's defense claims it was due to illegal drugs in Floyd's system.