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Derek Chauvin trial, April 1: Former Chauvin boss says restraint should have ended when Floyd was on the ground in handcuffs

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MINNEAPOLIS (UKTN) – A now-retired Minneapolis Police Department supervisor testified in Derek Chauvin’s trial Thursday, the fourth day of testimony.

David Pleoger said he called Chauvin on his cell phone after a 911 dispatcher alerted him to the George Floyd incident. Chauvin’s body camera captured part of this phone conversation.

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“I was just going to call you up and have you come to our stage here,” Chauvin said in the video. “We just had to hold a guy. He was going crazy … he wouldn’t go behind the team’s back.

Pleoger went on to describe what happened on the call, after Chauvin’s body camera was disabled, saying Chauvin described Floyd suffering from a medical emergency. Pleoger said Chauvin didn’t mention anything about putting his knee on Floyd’s neck.

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Chauvin’s boss was then asked if a knee at a person’s neck was an approved use of force. He said yes, but only for a “reasonable” period of time. He later noted that Chauvin should have stopped after Floyd was handcuffed to the ground.

Pleoger is the first of what, according to prosecution opening statements, will be a number of department witnesses who will testify that Chauvin used excessive force.

On Thursday, the court also heard tearful testimony from Floyd’s girlfriend, as well as the ambulance crew and a firefighter who attempted to resuscitate Floyd.

Courteney Ross testified about her life with Floyd and his struggle with opioid addiction, an addiction the defense is trying to argue for is what was largely responsible for Floyd’s death. Ross recalls meeting Floyd in 2017 in the Salvation Army lobby at a time when she was upset. She said he asked if he could pray with her.

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She says they had a great time together, but the addiction was a struggle for both of them.

“We both became addicted and tried to break that addiction over and over,” she said.

She testified two months before her death, Floyd was hospitalized for five days after an overdose. During cross-examination, she had difficulty remembering previous statements to law enforcement. She was repeatedly unsure of her past responses to Floyd’s purchase of drugs from Maurice Hall, the man who was in the passenger seat of Floyd’s car and later on the sidewalk when Floyd struggled with the police.

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The jury also heard from the two paramedics who responded to the scene of Floyd’s death. Chauvin still had his knee on Floyd’s neck when they were checking the pulse. They testified that they believed he was already dead when they arrived.

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“Put simply, I thought he was dead,” said Derek Smith. “I did not detect a pulse.”

Another paramedic said he then had to signal Chauvin to get off Floyd so they could put him in the ambulance. The paramedic described a number of medical attempts to revive Floyd, all of which were unsuccessful.

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Floyd’s family released a statement in response to Ross’ testimony about Floyd’s addiction, The statement says, in part, “We want to remind the world who witnessed his death on video, that George was walking, talking and breathing. very well before Derek Chauvin held his knee against George’s neck.


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