George Floyd can be heard admitting on videotape that he took drugs before his fatal arrest, the lawyer for ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin claimed at the former officer’s murder trial Wednesday.
Eric Nelson made the assertion while questioning Los Angeles Police Department use-of-force expert Sgt. Jody Stiger, a paid expert called by state prosecutors.
“Did you hear what he said?” Nelson asked Stiger during cross-examination.
“No, I couldn’t make it out,” Stiger said.
“Does it sound like he says, ‘I ate too many drugs’? Listen again,” Nelson said.
The LAPD sergeant said he still could not make it out, prompting Nelson to add, “In the chaos of a situation, things can be missed, right?”
“Yes,” Stiger answered.
Stiger, who has testified that Chauvin and other Minneapolis cops at the scene of Floyd’s fatal encounter with police on May 25 used unnecessary force, conceded that the officers’ initial use of force was “reasonable.”
In particular, Nelson noted that two cops were already on scene when Chauvin arrived.
“You would agree that from the time Officer Chauvin gets on scene until the time that Mr. Floyd is prone on the ground, Mr. Floyd was actively resisting efforts to go into the back seat of the squad car?” Nelson asked.
“Yes, sir,” Stiger answered.
“And the officers were reasonable in their use of force in their attempt to get him into the back of the squad car,” Nelson said. “Agreed?”
“Agreed,” Stiger replied.
But Stiger also testified that Chauvin and the other cops used “deadly force” while restraining a handcuffed Floyd — and kept him pinned down for too long.
“He was in the prone position,” Stiger told prosecutor Steve Schleicher. “He was handcuffed, he was not attempting to resist, he was not attempting to assault the officers — punch, kick, anything of that nature.”
Stiger, who said he is being paid nearly $13,000 for his testimony, also said Chauvin is seen on viral video using a “pain compliance” hold on Floyd — squeezing his fingers and bending back his wrist against his handcuffs after he is down and not resisting.
He said pain is a technique used to force suspects to follow cops’ orders.
“What if there’s no opportunity for compliance?” Schleicher asked.
“Then at that point it’s just pain,” Stiger replied.
Stiger’s testimony came on his second day on the stand at trial, in which Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s police-custody death.
He testified Tuesday that the Minneapolis department uses a Supreme Court-established standard in police use of force, which takes several factors into consideration — including the severity of the crime an individual is suspected of.
Floyd was being arrested for passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a local convenience store.
“Typically in a normal situation where you’re dealing with someone who is a counterfeiter or someone who is using a counterfeit bill, typically you wouldn’t even expect to use any kind of force,” Stiger testified.
The high-profile trial is in its second week, with prosecutors presenting their case.
Nelson also noted that the Supreme Court case, the 1989 ruling in Graham v. Connor, also said that “the reasonable use of force must be judged by the perspective of the officer on the scene,” and not “in hindsight.”
He also noted Wednesday that Stiger has been “prepped” by prosecutors in the case.