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Defense's use-of-force expert says Chauvin was 'justified' in interactions with Floyd

A use-of-force expert called to the stand by the defense in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial on Tuesday said Chauvin was “justified” in his interactions with George Floyd last May.

“I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” Barry Brodd told defense attorney Eric Nelson.

Brodd, pressed by Nelson, also said that he didn't think Chauvin’s actions were a deadly force.

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“In your opinion, was this a use of deadly force?” Nelson asked Brodd, to which he responded “it was not.”

Brodd said he performed a three-part analysis for Chauvin’s case when making this determination: He determined if the officer had justification to detain the suspect, how the suspect responded to the officer and if the officer’s use of force was proportionate to the level of resistance demonstrated by the suspect.

Last week, Sergeant Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert called by the prosecution, testified that the force officers used on Floyd during his arrest was “deadly.”

Brodd also testified that he did not consider a “prone control” position as a use of force. He later said that in some cases, it is “safer” to put a suspect on the ground in “prone position.”

“Officers are trained that anytime you get resistance from a suspect, or you're dealing with a high-risk suspect, it's safer for you the officer and for the suspect to put him on the ground in a prone position, face down, for a variety of reasons,” Brodd said.

“It makes the suspect’s mobility diminished, they can't get up and run as quick, it takes away some of the use of their hands so they can't grab you without turning their body, which would give an officer time to react. It limits what they can do with their feet, they can stop, kick, but they don't have as much mobility or power that they would if they were standing,” Brodd added.

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When asked by Nelson if the fact that Floyd was handcuffed came into his analysis of whether to put him in a prone position, Brodd answered no, saying “any resistor, handcuffed or not, should go to the ground into a prone control position.”

Brodd, when asked by Nelson, said a prone control position is “where the suspect, either in this case handcuffed, handcuffs are behind the back, placed on their stomach and their chest, and officers are in a position to apply bodyweight to keep the suspect on the ground, and to keep them further mobilized.”

In previous testimony, cardiologist Jonathan Rich said that Floyd's “low oxygen levels were induced by the prone restraint and the positional asphyxiation that he was subjected to.”

Additionally, Chauvin’s former supervisor at the Minneapolis Police Department previously testified that officers are supposed to lay prisoners on their side after their hands and feet are restrained, so detainees are able to “breathe easier” and without “breathing complications.”

A number of use-of-force experts have previously testified in the trial of Chauvin, but none have said the officer was justified in kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

Chauvin was charged with three criminal counts in connection with Floyd’s death, including second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

He was captured on video footage in May kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes.