Minneapolis police chief set to take stand in Derek Chauvin trial

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Minneapolis’ top cop is expected to take the stand as soon as Monday in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has previously characterized George Floyd’s police-custody death after passing a counterfeit $20 bill on May 25 as “murder.”

“Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training – the training was there,” Arradondo said in June. “Chauvin knew what he was doing.”

Arradondo also noted at the time that bystanders “shouted out” to the officers, including Chauvin, that Floyd, 46, had stopped communicating for several minutes after he was non-responsive.

In opening statements last week, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell previewed Arradondo’s expected testimony for jurors.

“He will not mince any words. He’s very clear,” Blackwell said. “He will be very decisive, this was excessive force.”

Chauvin, who is white, was seen on footage pressing his knee into the black man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as he said “I can’t breathe” 27 times and cried out for his mother.

One day after Floyd’s death, Arradondo, the first black police chief in Minneapolis, fired Chauvin and three other officers involved: Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. They have been charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in the case.

Chauvin, 45, who is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the top charge.

Prosecutors allege Chauvin’s “excessive and unreasonable” force during the deadly encounter caused Floyd’s death, while attorneys for the former cop claim Floyd died as a result of drug use and a heart ailment.

A toxicology report found that Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, told jurors last week.

On Friday, a homicide lieutenant told jurors that kneeling on the neck of a someone who is handcuffed and flat on the ground was “totally unnecessary” and equated to “deadly force.”

Lt. Richard Zimmerman, a 36-year department vet, gave the damning testimony on the fifth day of Chauvin’s trial, which is expected to last several weeks.

“No, I haven’t,” Zimmerman replied when asked by a prosecutor if had ever been trained to kneel on the neck of someone while handcuffed. “That would be the top tier, the deadly force … because if you kneel on a person’s neck, that could kill them.”

With Post wires

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