Department use-of-force instructor Lt. Johnny Mercil became the most recent member of the Minneapolis police to take the stand as part of a work by prosecutors to dismiss the claim that Chauvin was doing what he was prepared to do when he put his knee on George Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020.
Chauvin, a police officer who was later discharged, was one of four to respond to a 911 call regarding fake money supposedly being used at a convenience store in Minneapolis last year.
Floyd, who was implicated in using the money, resisted officers’ efforts to put him into the back of a patrol car. They then put him on the ground. Chauvin knelt on his neck for close to 9 1/2 minutes by prosecutors’ estimate to keep him in place.
Floyd, 46, underwent cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by officers, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, which concluded the manner of death was a homicide.
He had great levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, according to substance screening, and that drug use perhaps added to the death, along with a history of heart disease.
According to affidavits and records submitted Tuesday, Chauvin took a 40-hour course in 2016 on how to identify people in crisis—including those experiencing mental problems or the results of drug use—and how to use de-escalation methods to calm them down.
Eric Nelson, the attorney for Chauvin, has said that Chauvin “did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career,” in the May 2020 incident.
He has offered that Floyd’s history of heart disease, along with the high levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system is what prompted his death, not Chauvin’s restraining methods.
When shown images from officer body-worn camera footage of moments during Floyd’s arrest, Mercil, who is currently on medical furlough from the police department, told Nelson that it showed Chauvin using a “prone hold an officer may apply with his knee.”
He asserted that Chauvin’s shin appeared to be installed directly along Floyd’s neck in at least one of the pictures. He often corresponded with Nelson however that Chauvin appeared to place his knee more on Floyd’s back, shoulder or shoulder blades, more so than on Floyd’s neck.