State Watch

Former MPD sergeant: Restraint should’ve ended when Floyd stopped offering resistance


Derek Chauvin’s former supervisor testified in his trial on Thursday that his use of force against George Floyd could have ended when Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground since he was “no longer offering up any restraint.”

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked David Pleoger, a former Minneapolis police sergeant, if he had an opinion, based on his review of the body-worn camera footage, on when the restraint of Floyd should have ended.

Pleoger responded “yes,” adding “when Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers they could have ended their restraint.”

When asked by Schleicher if that was after Floyd was on the ground, handcuffed and no longer resistant, Pleoger answered “correct.”

The exchange came after the jury was escorted out of the courtroom so that Judge Peter Cahill could settle a dispute between Schleicher and Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, regarding the validity of the question.

When Schleicher first presented the question to Pleoger, “based upon your review of this incident, do you believe that the restraint should have ended at some point in the encounter?” Nelson objected, prompting a private sidebar between Cahill and the attorneys.

Cahill then ordered the jury to vacate the courtroom, and Nelson argued that Pleoger did not examine all of the evidence, including witness accounts, according to NBC News.

The debate essentially centered on how extensive of an opinion Pleoger was allowed to offer, the network noted.

When Floyd died on May 25, NBC News wrote, the event was deemed a “critical incident,” which is why Pleoger did not have discretion over the situation.

Nelson held that Pleoger should not be allowed to judge Chauvin’s use of force.

“This officer, Sgt. Pleoger, did not make this determination. He has not done a use of force review,” Nelson said when the jury was still outside of the room. “He has not reviewed the entirety of this particular case.”

Cahill ultimately decided that the initial question asked by Schleicher would be withdrawn, and that he was permitted to ask “Do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?” which he did when the jury returned to the courtroom.

Chauvin is on trial for the death of Floyd, who died after the former officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, which was captured on video. Chauvin has been charged with three criminal counts, including second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Tags Derek Chauvin trial use of force

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