Federal Trial in The Death of George Floyd: Daily Trial Highlights

Posted at 6:41 AM, January 25, 2022 and last updated 8:06 AM, February 25, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Court TV) — Three former Minneapolis police officers have been found guilty on federal charges in relation to the May 2020 death of George Floyd. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao, who were with Derek Chauvin when he killed George Floyd, were convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

DAY 21 – 2/24/22

  • The verdict came today. The defendants were found guilty of all charges.
  • The jury deliberated for 13 hours, 35 minutes.
  • The jury was comprised of 8 women, 4 men, and all of them appear to be white.
  • After, the prosecution team held a press conference where the Acting United States Attorney Chares Kovats said a few words. He stated it was an honor to try this case.
  • LeeAnn Bell, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, who gave the prosecution’s rebuttal argument, also made a statement.  She said, “George Floyd was a human being. He deserved to be treated as such. He was a son, a father, a significant other, a family member, and a friend to so many.”
  • Philonise Floyd (George Floyd’s brother) and Brandon Williams (George Floyd’s nephew) entered the room at one point. After Bell made her statement, there was some quiet discussion amongst the prosecution team and the two family members. After a few minutes, they stepped up to the lectern. Among the things they emphasized was wanting the defendants to serve the maximum amount of time possible.
  • WATCH: 2/24/22 Thao, Kueng and Lane Guilty on All Counts: Think Tank Reacts
  • WATCH: 2/24/22 The Murder of George Floyd: Verdict is in

DAY 20 – 2/23/22

  • Jury heard their instructions this morning.
  • Courtroom color – None of the defendants’ supporters are in the courtroom. Defendant Thomas Lane is writing away on a notepad that he later hands to his attorney, Earl Gray. Lane also passes a note to J. Alexander Kueng.
  • One of the first instructions says – You must give separate consideration of evidence to each individual defendant. You must consider each crime charged separately for each defendant and return a separate verdict for each crime charged.
  • There is a jury instruction on proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Keep in mind, the amount of force used can be used under circumstances tense, uncertain, and rapidly changing situations.
  • Serious medical need is one that is diagnosed by physician or as one requiring treatment or is so obvious that a layperson would recognize the necessity for a doctor’s attention.
  • Gov’t need not prove the defendant intended for Floyd to die but deprived Floyd of his rights.
  • It is possible for an officer to violate training but not violate the Constitution.
  • Courtroom color – There are two male jurors who are leaning forward on the jury wall. All of the jurors have turned their bodies to face the judge. They are listening and barely moving.

DAY 19 – 2/22/22

  • Court started a little bit late today.
  • Judge Magnuson enters and then brings up some news – he is excusing juror #52. He doesn’t give a reason for this. Now the jury is comprised of 4 men, 8 women, all of which appear to be white.
  • Manda Sertich approaches the lectern. She will give the prosecution’s closing argument.
  • Sertich goes through a timeline of what happened on May 25, 2020.
  • Sertich: What the defense has suggested, is it is too much to expect a trained officer to so much as say to Officer Chauvin, ‘hey man, get your knee off his neck,’ or even say ‘sir, check the carotid pulse.’
  • Sertich goes after the defense again – The defenses’ position is it’s too much for police officers to do their duty when it means risking disapproval from a fellow officer, even when the result is when someone dies.
  • Sertich again: As a result of this action and inaction, George Perry Floyd, Jr. died a slow death in front of these defendants, underneath their knees, handcuffed, unarmed, and in broad daylight.
  • Sertich now explains the charges and the elements of the charges:
    • Defendants deprived Floyd of his right secured by the Constitution by failing to intervene to stop Chauvin from using unreasonable force
    • Defendants acted willfully to disobey/disregard the law
    • Defendants acted under color of law
    • Bodily injury/death resulted due to a defendant’s conduct
  • Defendants were acting under color of law. This element is not in dispute. The parties have stipulated to this fact. They were in uniform and working as MPD officers that day.
  • Defendants failure to intervene. Officer Chauvin was only allowed to use the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to control Floyd. The testimony shows this was unreasonable. Floyd was killed as a result. Thao and Kueng observed and knew Chauvin was using unreasonable force. Lane responded to the situation that Floyd was passing out.
  • Every officer has a duty to intervene regardless of rank or seniority.
  • Everyone has the duty to intervene, it’s right there in MPD policy.
  • Academy recruits are told they are responsible for the actions of their co-recruits. Their actions and inactions.
  • When someone calls the police, they don’t get to ask for a 19-year veteran, they’re asking for a sworn officer. When an officer takes responsibility, they assume all the responsibilities. They don’t get to pick and choose.
  • Everyone agreed, controlling the scene doesn’t change the duties of the officers.
  • The discomfort of questioning a colleague over doing your duty resulted in the death of a human.
  • Bodily injury – Floyd cries out in pain, mentions his abrasion on his face from being pressed to the concrete, and he experiences an impairment to his airway.
  • The government doesn’t have to prove the defendants intended for Floyd to die. Floyd died because his heart and lungs stopped working due to being subdued and because of the neck restraint enforced by law enforcement.
  • Deliberate indifference, the failure to provide Floyd with medical aid.
  • All three defendants testified that they knew time was of the essence when applying CPR.
  • The defendants don’t have to diagnose the problem, they have to recognize there is a problem and do something.
  • They all watched the videos on excited delirium. It’s not what Floyd looked like or sounded like. Floyd’s behavior didn’t resemble videos. He communicated with the officers, he was not running around naked covered in blood, and he said he was willing to lay on the ground.
  • The treatment for excited delirium is the same as anyone who is prone and handcuffed. In this case, it’s even more urgent to get them into the side recovery position. You should not keep them in the prone position indefinitely, certainly not if they go unconscious or lose a pulse.
  • Just because an arrestee can’t talk, doesn’t mean they are receiving sufficient oxygen.
  • Lane’s statements didn’t give Floyd any more oxygen. Lane’s suggestions weren’t reasonable measures. The force by Chauvin was so dangerous and it went on for so long.
  • If cardiac arrest is witnessed and CPR is administered immediately, the chances of survival increase exponentially. By the time Floyd got into the ambulance, it was too late.  CPR needed to be started on the ground. Defendants chose to do nothing when Floyd became unresponsive until the ambulance arrived.
  • We have expectations of police officers. To serve and protect. To serve with compassion. We hope they walk the community, get to know the community, know each one has strengths and weaknesses.
  • Arresting people is part of police work. When someone is OD-ed or under cardiac arrest, officers must provide medical assistance. To at the very least try to the best of their abilities.
  • Sertich: “On May 25, 2020, there was no respect for the sanctity of life, no adherence to police work.”
  • Robert Paule, for Tou Thao, will not give us closing arguments.
  • Paule: Tragedy is not a crime
  • Paule: You are the judges of the facts. You decide what has and has not been proven. That is your role. Your duty is to take the facts as you decide them, apply the law as the court gives it to you, and render a just and true verdict free from sympathy or bias.
  • Paule: I only represent Thao, my comments only refer to Tou Thao
  • My client knew EMS code 2 was on the way.
  • My client believed Floyd to be high or under the influence of drugs. If they are under the influence of drugs, it becomes a medical issue.
  • The store clerk thought Floyd was so high he didn’t realize he had a counterfeit bill.
  • Infamous slide 31 = shows a person being put down with a knee on his neck
  • My client has experience dealing with people who experience excited delirium.
  • He was repeatedly called on to restrain those in excited delirium so they could be sedated for their own well-being.
  • The point of my client was to make sure Floyd was being held until he received medical attention
  • Thomas Plunkett, who represents J. Alexander Kueng, is next up to the lectern.
  • He talks about the inadequate training of Kueng, lack of experience, his perceived subordinate role to Chauvin, his confidence in his senior officers, confrontation crowd created a dynamic, unusual, foreign situation.
  • Plunkett brings up Blackwell’s testimony, specifically the failures of the FTO program. He says Blackwell created no metric of learning.
  • Scene safety – first ensure you are safe and that you have communicated your incident to your communications center.
  • Kueng wasn’t sure if the scene was safe because Chauvin took out his mace and shook it to the crowd.
  • Kueng talked about how this was the biggest struggle he’d ever been in.
  • Kueng talked about auditory exclusions because of the intensity of the situation.
  • Kueng comes from family of missionaries – grandfather, mother, and himself. He [Kueng] wants to make this world a better place, not for him but for everyone.
  • The mob mentality: courts are this country’s protection against the mob. When a man is thrown to the mob, is that justice? Let me tell you what justice is. Justice is the law.
  • Fairness is what your grandmother taught you. Fairness is about being honest
  • Earl Gray, the defense attorney for Thomas Lane, will not give closing arguments.
  • Gray: My client is only charged with one count, deliberate indifference to Floyd’s medical needs
  • This was not the friendliest crowd. The crowd didn’t see Floyd resisting. They didn’t see a 6’4 225-lb man of muscle fighting two police officers. They’re [the officers] are not using clubs. They’re not macing him. They [the bystanders] didn’t see that. The bystanders did not get all the information, as all the police officers did. They didn’t see the original arrest when Floyd fell.
  • When my client walked up to Mercedes, Floyd was not cooperative at first. He had to take his gun out. That’s policy. My client put the gun in his holster when Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel. He talked softer to Floyd. They [Lane and Kueng] were trying to be cooperative police officers. They were trying to de-escalate the situation.
  • Floyd was claustrophobic for the first time when he was getting in the squad car. He had windows up in his Mercedes. My client, I’ll roll the windows down [in the squad car], I’ll stay with him. He was trying to de-escalate Floyd. He [Lane] was talking to a man [Floyd] that was not having all his faculties.
  • There was more than 3.5 minutes where Floyd was in the vehicle hitting his head against the glass, thrashing and kicking. Two strong officers couldn’t control him. They were using what they were taught, that you wrestle him. Floyd is resisting, he’s kicking his legs, he’s resisting, he resists for about 4.5 minutes. Lane said to Chauvin, ‘shall we roll him on his side’ – what he was taught at the academy. Chauvin says ‘no,’ it wasn’t a maybe, it was a ‘no,’ don’t talk to me sort of no.
  • Lane is very concerned about the arrestee. He spoke up to a man [Chauvin] of 19 years, an FTO, he says no, Lane backs off. Lane said it again, ‘should we roll him on his side?’ Chauvin ignores him. He’s just a rookie.
  • Lane is looking up and sees Floyd’s back muscle going up, reassuring him that Floyd is still breathing, Lane says he is breathing.
  • After, Lane asked Kueng to check his [Floyd’s] pulse. He saw Kueng checking his [Floyd’s] pulse. He checked it twice, then said he couldn’t find  one.
  • All of that shows he [Lane] was concerned about Floyd’s medical needs
  • So far, we have nothing to show he was deliberately indifferent, that he had a bad purpose.
  • Lane checked for a pulse too, he checked the ankle.
  • Lane tells the paramedics Floyd is not responsive, exactly what he’s trained to do, that something is wrong.
  • How in the world should our government, the United States of America, freedom and all of that, charge someone who does all of that? It’s scary. To end up in a courtroom like this. That’s what happened to Thomas Lane.
  • Lane does chest pumps. He was the first one to do CPR. Lane is really trying to revive the guy. He’s not deliberately indifferent about anything. He knew about custody and he knew about care, and that was what he was doing. Did he do anything up to now to show any disrespect? No!
  • They all turned their backs? How in the world can a prosecutor interested in justice- She accused all three officers of turning their backs. When you think about it, none of these officers turned their backs. This is not the kind of case where three men go out and shoot somebody.
  • The mayor and the police chief shook Lane’s hand. They then terminated my client, a man who worked for years trying to become a cop. Talk about being ruled by the mob politics. Very dangerous now to be a cop.
  • Gray ends with a final emphatic note no presumption of innocence.
  • LeeAnn Bell is last up, she will do the government’s rebuttal.
  • Your job is to determine what facts matter and what facts don’t matter.
  • The neighborhood doesn’t matter, your rights are the same regardless of the neighborhood.
  • The pills in the car don’t matter because they weren’t in Floyd’s blood stream.
  • If you can’t find a pulse, the answer cannot be, I did nothing.
  • Lane could get up and check the carotid pulse. If he couldn’t get there, if he didn’t think there was a pulse, he had to start CPR, that’s the reasonable measure that we have. It is not reasonable not to do anything.
  • The CPR in the ambulance also didn’t matter. My grandfather said – a day late and a dollar short. The CPR was done 7 minutes after the second time he [Lane] asked ‘should we roll him on his side?’ That simple move could’ve save Floyd’s life.
  • The medical care is the same if Floyd OD-ed, was under excited delirium, unconscious, had breathing problems. Roll him on his side.
  • What could Kueng see, shoulder to shoulder with Chauvin. He could see his knee. Use the milestone cam. You can see how close they are.
  • Floyd was searched, handcuffed on the ground, with three officers holding him down. He stopped speaking, he went unconscious, he was no threat at all.
  • All three defendants knew Floyd’s life was at risk. They had ability, authority, and legal obligation to intervene.
  • There are no free passes on the Constitution because the risk is too great. There is no pass for, I am a brand-new officer. There is no pass for, I was afraid of getting in trouble. There is no pass for, I thought I was losing my job. You must act. You must take reasonable steps to stop the force. You must take reasonable steps to provide medical care. That is willfulness. Knowing what you did was wrong, was in violation of the law. Evil happens when good men do nothing. This happened in part because these three defendants did nothing.
  • It’s the end of the day and it’s snowing pretty hard in St. Paul, MN.
  • The judge is going to send the jurors home and address jury instructions tomorrow.

DAY 18 – 2/21/22

  • Mark Pentlend, Thomas Lane’s former colleague at the Juvenile Detention Center for Hennepin County is the first to take the stand today.
  • Pentlend: I rarely know anybody more comfortable in that job (at the JDC) than Lane.
  • Witness is excused.
  • Adam Lepinski, another former colleague of Lane’s takes the stand.
  • Lepinski says he met Lane while they were both working security at Exchange Bar.
  • Lepinski mentored Lane a bit at this place of employment.
  • Lepinski: Lane was always calm, maintained his composure, dealt with people with respect and dignity.
  • This character witness is quickly excused.
  • James Lane, Thomas Lane’s older brother, steps into the witness seat.
  • James: Tom is always the peacemaker. He’s the compassionate one who stays calm and brings people together.
  • James: Lane connects with others quickly and is more personable than me, and I’m a teacher.
  • This character witness is also quickly excused.
  • The defendant, Thomas Lane, now takes the stand.
  • Lane talks about his previous job working security at the Exchange Bar. Lepinski (Lane witness #3) helped guide him
  • Lane then became assistant probation officer in Ramsey County. He worked in a housing community, treatment facility. He helped kids with meals.
  • Lane was then hired at the juvenile detention center (JDC) in Hennepin County. He worked with kids 13 – 15 y/o, then worked with kids 17 – 21 y/o.
  • He says he wanted to work with people before they get to jail. He says there’s a lot more opportunity to do this in law enforcement.
  • His grandfather was a homicide detective. His great grandfather also in law enforcement.
  • He went to Century Community College for law enforcement theory training.
  • He then did a skills program for 5 months. He says there was a weapons portion of the program, as well as a criminal codes section, legal theory section, and a little bit of physical training.
  • POST – police officers standards training test. Lane says after you pass this, then you become an MPD officer.
  • Lane also trained at the MPD academy where he addressed officers as sir/ma’am.
  • The MPD academy = 4 – 5 months
  • Lane graduated from the MPD academy = December 10, 2019. This means he was sworn in and had a loaner badge. At his graduation, he got a community service award (was chosen by classmates) from the mayor and MPD chief.
  • Jury sees a photo of Lane graduating from the MPD academy and getting the community service award.
  • Lane also volunteered at St. Mary’s homeless shelter.
  • After the MPD academy, Lane did officer orientation (a generic onboarding/introduction period), then went into an FTO program in January 2020. Each phase of this program is 1-month long. He went from precinct 1 to precinct 3 during this time.
  • Lane met Officer Derek Chauvin at precinct 3.
  • Lane: “I knew that he [Officer Chauvin] was an FTO. And I knew of his reputation, that he’d been on for 20 years and was a guy who’d been in a lot of seriousness situations.”
  • After an officer’s 10-day evaluation with an FTO, then you’ve graduated from the FTO program. You’re then scheduled to be on your own.
  • Lane: I did extend my 10-day evaluation bc I was not meeting the expectations of my training. I had to start the 10-day evaluation again. A big violation was had taken a person out of the squad car and I did not clear the back seat of any objects. I then put someone else in the squad car. Also, I forgot my gun on a call (Lane says this is common).
  • On Lane’s first day on shift, he rode in a squad car by himself with no FTO and took report calls (these are not in-progress calls).
  • On Lane’s second day on shift, he rode with another officer.
  • On Lane’s third day on shift, he worked a half shift on his own then paired with another officer.
  • On Lane’s fourth day on shift (May 25), he was scheduled to be with Kueng. Lane knew Kueng from precinct 3, during the last three phases of the FTO program.
  • On this day, they got a call from Cup Foods that a forgery was in progress. The suspect was still on scene, the person might be drunk or under the influence, and they might’ve been standing or sitting on top of a vehicle, a blue van.
  • Lane says he pulled up in front, “probably should’ve definitely not have done that,” met with store staff, was directed to the vehicle across the street
  • Lane took his flashlight out, used it to tap on the driver’s side window to get the driver’s attention. He [Floyd] looked surprised. He threw one hand up, Lane could see the other hand – right hand – below the seat he was next to. Lane wanted to see both hands. He asked why, what’d they do.
  • Lane details his encounter with Floyd.
  • Lane: I think Chauvin cut in front of me, asked if Floyd was under arrest. At that point I was trying to contain him to determine probable cause for the forgery. Then I said yes, he was under arrest for forgery.
  • We were going to try to lift him to put him back in the squad.
  • At some point he was put on the ground. I was standing right by the passenger side door. We were trained at the academy to use the MRT (maximum restraint technique) and hobble. I believe Officer Thao said we should use that (MRT). I thought the situation met the criteria, that Floyd was handcuffed and out of control. Someone said let’s take him down. I said yeah, we’ll do the hobble or MRT.
  • When Mr. Floyd came out of the squad, I could see his lip was bleeding and possibly his nose, so when he got out, I called an ambulance code 2.
  • When Mr. Floyd had gone to the ground, I went to his legs to control them or get them ready for the hobble. He was kicking and fighting with us. Once I got his legs under control, Thao went to look for the hobble. He couldn’t find it in Keung’s bag. I said check my bag. It seemed excessive to put hobble on if an ambulance was going to get there.
  • I asked Chauvin to get his legs up. It’s another means of restraint so the subject can’t kick anymore. I said, should we get his legs up? Officer Chauvin said no.
  • I said should we roll him on his side. Chauvin said no, we’re good like this.
  • I tried to assess the situation. I said I was concerned about excited delirium. It can be induced by drugs. The way I understand it, it’s an adrenaline overdose.
  • Chauvin said that’s why we got him on his stomach, and that’s why the ambulance is coming. I said okay, I suppose. It seems reasonable. We have Floyd under control, the ambulance is coming code 3. We’ll hold here.
  • Lane says he was instructed on excited delirium at the academy.
  • Lane says he was instructed on excited delirium at JDC.
  • How could you tell Floyd was breathing? I could see through Officer Kueng that his chest rose and fell.
  • In the beginning of the restraint, I was down by Floyd’s feet, Chauvin’s knee was at base of Floyd’s neck and shoulder.
  • I could hear people in the crowded, some said he’s not breathing.
  • I said to Chauvin to roll him on his side. It’s a lot easier to assess him in that position.
  • Officer Chauvin just kind of avoided that and asked us if we were okay.
  • That’s typically the senior officer’s role is to see if their team is okay.
  • Can an FTO terminate employment? I don’t believe they can themselves.  believe they can have a pretty strong hand in recommending that.
  • Kueng checked Floyd’s pulse almost halfway up the forearm.
  • Lane says he learned handcuffs can interfere with one’s ability to check a pulse
  • The most reliable pulse is the carotid pulse bc there’s the most blood flow there, it’s stronger.
  • The paramedic said he couldn’t find a pulse.
  • I checked for the ankle pulse to try and see if there was one there. I could see the veins in Mr. Floyd’s right arm. He obviously still has a pulse or at least blood pressure bc veins were sticking out of his arm.
  • EMTs are the medical professionals when they’re on scene. It’s usually their scene. You’re there to assist them in any way. It’s mostly to make sure they’re safe to do their job.
  • The paramedic who arrived just walked out and went to the back of the ambulance. I said you should check on him, he’s [Floyd’s] not responsive. The paramedic just kind of walked out there.
  • Derek Smith went to check the carotid pulse on Floyd and he walked back to the ambulance.
  • Did he run up the ambulance? No
  • Did he flip Floyd on the ground to do CPR? No, sir, it was just kind of reassuring Mr. Floyd’s alright.
  • What went through your mind? That Mr. Floyd had a pulse, and the paramedic was going to get the stretcher and load him up.
  • What went through your mind when you saw his face? He didn’t look good.
  • Did you help with the stretcher? I did.
  • Did you help with loading him into the ambulance? I did.
  • Did you say or ask if you could do that? I asked Officer Chauvin if we should get another car for the crowd.
  • Why? It seemed like there was some hostileness and I just wanted to have another car to help with that.
  • Did Chauvin respond? I think he said no, let’s get him loaded up.
  • Lane: “I wanted to go with the help, however I could”
  • Lane: Why? “Just based on when Mr. Floyd was turned over, he didn’t look good and I just felt like, the situation, they might need a hand.”
  • Did you ride along? I did.
  • What did you do in ambulance? I tried taking the carotid pulse on Mr. Floyd. Then the doors closed. Derek Smith asked what happened. I tried to give him a rundown of the whole call. At that time, Mr. Smith was taking the handcuffs off Mr. Floyd. He took the carotid and he said I needed to start CPR.
  • I was doing CPR. We stopped and [Lane pauses – clearly gets choked up], the other paramedic came out. [Lane pauses again]. I kept doing chest compressions.
  • During CPR, I wasn’t sure if he was breathing or not, I could hear air passing through. Now I know it’s from chest compressions, it pushes air out of your lungs.
  • What was going in your mind in regard to Floyd? That he had gone into cardiac arrest and yeah.
  • Were you concerned? Yeah.
  • Did you know the cause of him being in cardiac arrest? No, sir.
  • I thought Sgt. Ploeger (prono: Ploo-gher) wanted a rundown of what happened.
  • When you talked to Lt. Zimmerman, did you know if Floyd survived? I assumed that Floyd passed, but we’re taught not to assume that.
  • Found out I was terminated while sitting in a Subway parking lot. I read a news article.
  • Samantha Trepel takes the lectern to cross-examine Lane.
  • On May 25, you were a sworn officer? Yes ma’am.
  • You had powers of sworn officer? Yes ma’am.
  • You were qualified to go on solo patrols in an able car? Yes ma’am.
  • You didn’t need a senior officer? No ma’am, I didn’t need one.
  • You previously responded to scenes where people OD-ed? Yes ma’am.
  • And scenes where ppl render unconscious? Yes ma’am.
  • You knew officers had a duty to intervene? That was gone over in the academy.
  • Textbook says you’re responsible for actions and inactions? Yes.
  • You’re responsible for partners and their actions? I’ll take your word for it.
  • Chauvin wasn’t your FTO? No ma’am.
  • He was a police officer? Yes
  • He’s the same rank as you? Yes
  • He follows the same policies and procedures applied to you? Yes
  • As an officer you’re expected to know the policies? Yes ma’am
  • You’re expected to follow those policies? Yes ma’am
  • This includes policy of use-of-force? Yes, that was covered.
  • The duty to intervene? Yes, that was covered as well.
  • The duty to render medical aid? Yeah, if it was in there, yeah.
  • It can be dangerous to leave handcuffed person in the prone position? It can be.
  • Pinning them down in prone position can be more dangerous? It can be.
  • If they’re on drugs, that’s even more dangerous? Yeah, most ppl who are on drugs are volatile and unpredictable.
  • You told the BCA that situation could have been handled differently?  I said I wanted to roll him on his side to get a better assessment of him.
  • Handcuffing a person in the prone position, afterwards, you sit  them up or turn them over? When feasible and reasonable.
  • You don’t hold them in place? It depends on the situation, there’s no hard and fast rule.
  • You’re trained to get someone out of the prone position? Depending on the situation.
  • You learned about the risks of positional asphyxia as a juvenile detention officer? That was a topic that was covered.
  • You were taught positional asphyxia can happen when someone is on someone’s back? I think that’s the general concept.
  • That training warned of the dangers of putting pressures on a person’s neck? I don’t recall specifically.
  • You were taught the best position is to move someone into the side recovery position? Yeah, based on some circumstances, that’s ideal.
  • You were concerned about positional asphyxia when Mr. Floyd was on the ground? No, I was not. I wanted to roll him on his side to get a better assessment of him. That [positional asphyxia] wasn’t on my mind at the time.
  • You’re taught if you can’t take the carotid, you sit? You assess.
  • You were taught if you can’t take the carotid, you look at veins? That’s part of the assessing, that blood pressure there’s going to be a heart rate. I deduced that from the situation.
  • You knew how to do CPR? Looking back Idk if I was doing it correctly. I knew the basic position and where you were supposed to do it.
  • You’re trained that when a heart stops, to start CPR within 5 – 10 seconds? That’s correct.
  • Just checking a pulse doesn’t circulate blood? No
  • Checking a pulse doesn’t circulate oxygen? No
  • That’s what getting the officers off of Mr. Floyd would’ve done? I was watching him breathe. I could see his chest fall.
  • You didn’t make another observation out loud after 8:25:13? I didn’t say anything after that, no.
  • An FTO might provide a report about employment? They do reviews every day. They have a lot of sway in your employment and how you progress in the field training process.
  • You decided to point a gun at Floyd? It was more of a safety situation. His behavior was dictating my response. I responded as I was trained.
  • Thao and Chauvin didn’t know if Floyd was under arrest? The plan at that point it was just to detain him, and likely search the vehicle.
  • You and Kueng had handcuffed Floyd before you searched him? Yes ma’am
  • You could see Floyd was having an interaction with Kueng? Yes ma’am
  • Floyd said he was claustrophobic, that he didn’t want to get into the car? At some point.
  • You could hear Mr. Floyd say, “I’m not trying to win. I’ll get on the ground,” right? That was said.
  • Floyd was restrained on the ground? To keep him from continuing self-harm, or to fight, or to get away.
  • You had him pinned for 4 minutes? That sounds correct.
  • By the time you asked to roll Floyd on his side, he wasn’t fighting? Not from my position.
  • You heard Floyd say he would get in the car, he said “I will”? Likely.
  • You heard Floyd say I can’t breathe? Yes
  • More than 20x? I’ll take your word for it. He said it numerous times.
  • He said my neck hurts? Yeah, I think so.
  • He said my face skinned up so bad? I don’t remember that.
  • You said you were worried about excited delirium? Yes ma’am
  • Kueng told you to just leave him, correct? I remember Officer Chauvin say he’s good like this or hold like this, something like that affect, it seemed to make sense at the time. We got the ambulance coming, so we’ll just hold there.
  • At the time, you chose to defer to your colleagues when Floyd was in the prone position? It seemed reasonable at the time. We had an ambulance coming. He was unpredictable. He was self-harming.
  • Excited delirium is a medical situation? Yeah, it can be
  • That’s why you wanted to assess him? One of the potential issues, yes
  • Floyd stopped speaking, correct? Yes ma’am
  • He was barely moving at that point? Yes, there was still some movements. I believe his leg kicked up. I wasn’t sure if he was getting in and out of consciousness.
  • You removed your hands from Floyd at that point, pinning him down? I had a hand holding him in place in case he was coming in and out of consciousness again, so he couldn’t continue kicking.
  • Was he kicking a lot? His leg came up once, but I wouldn’t say kicking
  • Kueng and Chauvin remained in their same spots? They were in their similar positions.  Officer Kueng had a knee on Floyd’s hamstrings, his other one was on the ground. I couldn’t get a view of where Chauvin was at. I  believe he was holding him [Floyd] in place.
  • After Floyd passed out, you didn’t choose to stand him up? Not at that point.
  • At 8:25:39 PM, after Floyd passed out, you asked to roll him on his side? Yes ma’am
  • People on sidewalk saying he’s not responsive and check for a pulse, corect? Yeah, it’s hard to put a time frame of statements of bystanders.
  • When it came to rolling Floyd on his side, Chauvin didn’t tell you no? Correct
  • No one responded to your question?  No
  • You choose not to repeat that question, correct? I did not
  • You asked Kueng to check his pulse? I did
  • Kueng said 2x, I can’t find one? Yes, I saw Officer Kueng checked mid-forearm when he was attempting to check Floyd’s pulse.
  • You tried to check for a pulse on Floyd’s ankle? That was after. I was trying to assess the situation, check for breathing, check for an ankle pulse on his left ankle.
  • When Kueng couldn’t find pulse, you couldn’t hear sirens, correct? I couldn’t see the sirens.
  • Lane: Almost after, I checked ankle pulse, I could hear the sirens, see the ambulance turning.
  • Before Derek Smith came, you could see Chauvin’s knee on Floyd? I could see he appeared to be holding Mr. Floyd in place. His knee was on one of the shoulders on the base of the neck area.
  • After Kueng couldn’t find a pulse, you didn’t say anything to Chauvin? I talked to him when the ambulance called out. I wasn’t sure what they had said. I said, ‘they advised what?’  I think Officer Chauvin said they advised code 3 and he told me to acknowledge that on the radio.
  • It was not a discussion about getting Chauvin off of Floyd? Not at that point no.
  • When you moved Floyd to stretcher, he was limp? That’s correct
  • You’re trained excited delirium can be dangerous? Possibly. I learned the best thing to do is to keep the person from thrashing by holding them in place.
  • When you see cardiac arrest, you should start CPR, correct? When the situation allows, you should start CPR as soon as possible.
  • You could put someone in the side recovery position and hold them on their side? It’s more difficult. You have less leverage.
  • Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, approaches for re-direct.
  • Lane: Scene safety is always the priority. You’re not supposed to take care of someone if you’re going to be injured yourself. Everything is scene safety first.
  • Why did you say he’s breathing? I heard someone in the crowd say he’s not breathing. That’s something I could visually check, and I could see that. I could see it on his back muscle, I could see it rise and fall.
  • In the use-of-force policy, you remember learning officers should be reasonable? Yes
  • Witness excused
  • Lane defense rests
  • State has no rebuttal

DAY 17 – 2/17/22

  • The defendant, J. Alexander Kueng, returns to the stand for cross.
  • Manda Sertich, for the prosecution, goes into the medical responder course that Kueng took at the academy
  • Sertich reads document: Although a patient is talking, they may not be breathing (paraphrased here)
  • Sertich: Floyd stopped talking around the 4-minute mark of the video. Kueng: It’s something to re-assess for, yes.
  • Floyd complained about pain on wrist? Kueng: Can you be more specific?
  • You said you used a wristlock? You don’t know if it’s handcuffs or pain compliance technique that hurt Floyd’s wrirsts?  Kueng: I think it [the pain] was in response to the handcuffs, he complained about this wrist hurting when he was not in the wristlock, “I don’t believe it to be both [wristlock and handcuffs]”
  • You said for ppl who have excited delirium, they don’t experience pain? Kueng: They seem to not register pain…he’s [Floyd’s] complaining about the handcuffs, he’s referencing pain bc he wants them removed
  • Kueng: Floyd hitting his head on the partition is a possibility of sign of excited delirium
  • You said Floyd was on narcotics (which brings you down) but you said he was possibly experiencing excited delirium which is a result of taking a stimulant, which is it? Kueng: When I hear narcotics I hear this as “overall encompassing category of drugs as a whole ma’am”
  • You trained on after-care guidelines and how they should be applied to neck restraints? Kueng: I only trained on applying this to subconscious
  • When there’s passive or no resistance, you can’t use conscious neck restraint, correct? Kueng: Good question, the training doesn’t say not to apply it
  • You said you had to use the tire to stabilize yourself bc Floyd was thrashing, but in this video your hand is down, correct? Kueng: I put my hand several times on the car tire to maintain balance
  • Sertich points out Floyd said he can’t breathe, Chauvin said that’s a heck of a lack of oxygen, Kueng laughs. Kueng explains the joke. Sertich points out that Kueng was not taking the situation seriously.
  • Kueng explains that under MPD policy, Lane would be the lead on the  scene bc Kueng and Lane were first on scene and Lane had more experience. He adds that there’s an unwritten rule that if there’s someone more senior, like Chauvin, they would take the lead.
  • If you’re new officer, you wouldn’t be required to intervene? Kueng: Yes ma’am
  • Sertich trying to ask a question indicating that only officers of the same rank can intervene. She’s trying to indicate that Kueng’s testimony is that only officers with the same rank as Chauvin can intervene. The defense states this is argumentative. The judge sustains.
  • Lane suggested rolling Floyd on his side. Who was the first to respond to Lane? Judge instructs jury to use their memory of the video.
  • Chauvin didn’t give an order in response to Lane’s question? Kueng: Correct
  • Chauvin is not your FTO anymore, correct? Kueng: Yes ma’am
  • Kueng: I’m on probation, Chauvin could still terminate me if he reports on my performance.
  • Kueng: Chauvin did respond to Lane’s second suggestion of rolling Floyd on his side.
  • You answered to leave him there? Kueng: Yes ma’am
  • This was not a question of not having a time to respond? Kueng: I would agree, yes
  • The length of this restraint was 5 minutes after Floyd passed out? Kueng: I’ll take your word for it
  • At no point did you make a move to move Chauvin off of Floyd? Kueng: Correct
  • When Floyd was restrained on the ground, did you think he had a serious medical need? Kueng: “I can’t say I did”
  • You testified it was possible he was experiencing excited delirium? Kueng: “Possibly”
  • This was a potentially dangerous medical problem? Kueng: A potentially dangerous problem
  • You knew Floyd couldn’t breathe? Kueng: I was aware he was saying that, yes
  • He said it more than 20x? Kueng: I take your word on the number of times
  • You saw Floyd stopped moving? Kueng: I can’t exactly recall when that was
  • Lane said Floyd was passing out? Kueng: I do recall that, yes
  • You took a pulse on Floyd’s wrist and couldn’t find one? Kueng: Yes ma’am
  • You kept checking? Kueng: I was concerned I wasn’t getting a good reading, so I checked the other one
  • You didn’t do anything to get Chauvin off of Floyd? Kueng: No ma’am, I was focused on the paramedics arriving, so we could get Floyd on a stretcher
  • You didn’t move out of the way? Kueng: I was in a position to move
  • The paramedic told you to move? Kueng: I recall him placing the stretcher behind us
  • You never called for backup? Kueng: No
  • Did you talk to Lane about either of you assisting Thao? Kueng: No ma’am
  • You didn’t ask Chauvin to move when you were checking for carotid pulse? Kueng: No
  • If you can’t get carotid pulse, you just sit there? Kueng: No, I think Chauvin moved his knee to allow for a paramedic to check for a carotid pulse
  • You never got on your radio to say an arrestee was unconscious? Kueng: Correct
  • It’s important to communicate safety issues. Yesterday you testified that, when you communicated that Floyd was taken out of the car, it was for safety? Kueng: Safety for the officers
  • When paramedics arrived, you didn’t say, ‘stay back this isn’t safe’? Kueng: No, they determined that on their own
  • When paramedics arrived, you didn’t stop patient care? Kueng: No ma’am
  • You did not convey, in your use-of-force review, that Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck? Kueng: We are not to explain other officer’s objectives, Chauvin could explain that himself, he did not
  • Floyd stopped moving after EMS arrived? Kueng: That’s what I said yes
  • Kueng; “It’s not my duty to report another officer’s [Chauvin’s] perspective”
  • Sertich: Are you trained to stop someone from committing a crime? Kueng: Yes
  • Sertich: Can use-of-force be a crime? Kueng: Yes, if it’s perceived.
  • Thomas Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney is up next for re-direct.
  • Plunkett: There’s an FTO checklist? Kueng: Yes
  • Plunkett: The duty to intervene and de-escalation policies are checked off on this? Kueng: The reality is that, at least for me, I’d hand this to my FTO and he just signed it
  • Kueng: Some individuals are aware that if they complain about handcuffs, to adjust them, we have to remove them
  • Kueng: Handcuff pain is a complaint we get from individuals who don’t want to wear handcuffs, “His [Floyd’s] complaints were continuous”
  • Kueng: Bystanders don’t have a right to interfere legally, but it can still happen
  • When the medics left, do you know where they took him? Kueng: I overheard the paramedic say ‘just get us out of here’
  • Did you knowingly omit information from a lieutenant (during your use-of-force review)? Kueng: That was not my intention
  • Sertich is up again, this time for re-cross.
  • You said that people just want to get out of their handcuffs.  Floyd’s wrists were bloodied when he got on the ground, correct? Kueng: After the struggle in the back seat.
  • Witness excused
  • The defense will now call their third witness, Steven Ijames, a use-of-force expert. He may be a familiar face to some, seeing as that he previously testified in Kim Potter’s state trial.
  • Ijames: Floyd’s arrest appears to be based on probable cause completely in line with “contemporary police training practices”
  • Ijames: The force to control Floyd was minimal. I did not see strikes or kicks.
  • Grounding is common, it’s “safer for everyone”
  • The process of just holding and stabilizing until the ambulance got there was appropriate
  • Classroom training doesn’t get absorbed by lots of officers but scenario training is needed for “things that really matter” … “If you don’t test them [officers] and validate it [the lessons], expect them to get it wrong. Especially on complex issues. They’ll get it wrong more than they get it right.”
  • The MPD trainings on duty to intervene are not adequate
  • The MPD FTOs are disconnected from what’s taught at the academy
  • “The key takeaway from Rodney King is just because you sit through a class, doesn’t mean you learned anything.”
  • Police officers have a culture of how they work with each other. It varies by department. Senior officers have a  tremendous amount of respect.
  • Was force reasonable? Ijames: Force to the point to the point of getting Floyd to the ground was consistent with contemporary police training practice. When he was under control it was more force than necessary.
  • An officer with one and a half shifts is going to defer to the senior officer
  • Ijames; At the point that Mr. Floyd could have been moved to his side, that should have absolutely been done. The reason it was not done, in my opinion, is the same reason there was no intervention on the force. That there are things even the senior officer is not aware of that I’m not– it would be justified. This would be the reason why he [Kueng] did not render first aid.
  • Kueng placing his knee on Floyd’s upper hips would be consistent with contemporary police training and practice
  • When Lane says something does Kueng have to? Ijames: If the recipient heard it, there’s no reason to repeat it
  • The wrist check is okay but it’s not as reliable as the carotid. Kueng checking Floyd’s wrist was the best option at the time.
  • Ijames emphasizes Kueng’s lack of experience and interaction with Chauvin.
  • Sertich will now cross-examine Ijames.
  • Ijames reiterates Floyd should have been moved into the  side position
  • Ijames: Kueng’s training was appropriate on moving person onto side
  • Kueng should’ve done that at the expense of Floyd’s neck? Ijames: Yes, he didn’t do that, yes that’s true
  • The paramedic took Floyd’s carotid pulse, correct? Ijames: It’s hard to move from a holding position to another position where you have to take a pulse
  • Kueng was authorized to perform the same duties as Chauvin, as a full-time police officer, correct? Ijames: No new police officer can perform the same functions as a more experienced police officer.
  • Prosecutor: Checking for a pulse is not medical aid, correct? Ijames: It’s not aid but it’s checking for a symptom that may require aid.
  • Ijames agrees that force was used on Floyd while he was not resisting.
  • Prosecutor: (to Ijames previous answer) That would be unreasonable force, correct? Ijames: No ma’am.
  • Ijames: In doing use-of-force scenarios, when recruits get it wrong, that’s how they learn
  • Kueng’s medical training was accurate, when it came to radial pulse vs carotid pulse
  • Floyd’s condition was consistent with someone who would be under medical distress, excited delirium, mind altering substances
  • Floyd having trouble breathing is a type of medical distress
  • It wasn’t unreasonable that Kueng was not doing anything. His reaction was justified. It’s not unreasonable, there was a legitimate basis for that.
  • You didn’t see Kueng do anything to remove Chauvin’s-use of-force? Ijames: No
  • That was over the course of 9.5 minutes, correct? Ijames: Yes ma’am
  • Witness excused
  • Kueng’s defense rests
  • Gary Nelson, a former MPD officer is next to take the stand on behalf of Thomas Lane’s defense.
  • Nelson goes into the relationship between FTOs and recruits.
  • Nelson testifies to officers responding to a scene. He says somebody needs to be in charge. He says that would be an incident commander, a sergeant, or lieutenant. In the absence of rank, the officer with most seniority would be the scene commander.
  • Would it be unusual to restrain someone and wait for an ambulance? Nelson: No
  • Samantha Trepel, for the prosecution will cross-examine Nelson.
  • Members in the military obey lawful orders? Nelson: Yes
  • Nelson: MPD is a paramilitary organization
  • Police officers are peace officers? Nelson: That is correct
  • There is a chain of command? Nelson: Yes
  • It’s important to instill values, like treating others with respect, to officers? Nelson: Yes
  • Officers are accountable for their actions? Nelson: Yes
  • Officers accountable for their inactions? Nelson: You could be held accountable for an inaction
  • FTOs don’t have the ability to fire a person, correct? Nelson: That is correct, there’s a disciplinary process
  • A police department’s culture doesn’t change a police officer’s duty, correct? Nelson: No, it doesn’t change it
  • Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, doesn’t have many questions on re-direct
  • The person who has the most seniority is usually the one in charge? Nelson: Yes
  • Witness excused

DAY 16 – 2/16/22

  • LeeAnn Bell, for the prosecution, asks Thao about the hobble. Thao says they didn’t use the hobble.
  • Thao refuses to admit that he observed, during the fourth minute of the restraint video, that Floyd was not resisting. “From my perspective, the restraint was successfully working if he was not able to move around and resist.”
  • Thao refuses to answer that he did not check on Floyd. He says he “was doing crowd control.”
  • Bell: You’re hearing the crowd as they’re talking to you? Thao: “Most of the time”
  • Bell: You’re aware that positional asphyxia means a person can’t get adequate air? Thao: Correct.
  • Bell: You understood Floyd was about to pass out? Thao: I likely couldn’t hear what was being said
  • Bell: What steps did you take, up to 6 minutes, to stop the restraint? Thao: Talks about waiting for EMS, says with excited delirium, the subject could get up and start fighting again.
  • Robert Paule, Thao’s attorney, complains about Bell’s facial expressions which show displeasure, he objects to this. Light chuckles here in the media room. Bell asks for a sidebar.
  • Bell: Did you observe force? Thao: “I can’t say for certain.”
  • Bell: You think there’s a possibility Chauvin was hovering (around 6 minutes of the video)? Thao: “I’m not always tracking the amount of movements or weight these officers are applying.”
  • Bell: Did you tell Chauvin to get off Floyd (up to the 6 minutes of the video)? Thao: “We’re still holding for EMS” … later Thao says, “I did not.”
  • Bell: You could’ve tapped Chauvin on the shoulder? Thao: “For what?” He later says, “I think i would trust a 19-year veteran to figure it out.”
  • Bell brings up Genevieve Hansen, the MN firefighter who was off duty at the time when she approached the scene.
  • Bell says Hansen asked if there was a pulse. Thao admits he told her, I’m busy trying to deal with you guys right now.
  • Thao says he didn’t check for a pulse. He was doing crowd control.
  • Thao talks about scene safety: “We have to keep Mr. Floyd secure, as well, because he’s going through suspected excited delirium” .. “Meaning he could potentially get up and start causing issues.”
  • “Thao says, “we believe he [Floyd] was going through excited delirium. I was just following that protocol.”
  • Thao says he doesn’t use knee restraints. “I don’t use that. I’m short. It gets me off balance.”
  • Defense: Why was it important to keep Floyd restrained? “We needed EMS to provide medical care that we weren’t capable of doing.
  • When EMS were there, did you still maintain your position? Thao: Yes, “for crowd control”
  • Thao: Surprised firetruck showed up because paramedics had already left.
  • Thao on the firetruck: “That signaled to me that patient was in critical condition.”
  • You were trained to roll someone on their side? Thao: Yes
  • You were trained to do CPR? Thao: Yes
  • You could do this without EMS being there? Thao: Correct
  • Excited delirium protocol is to roll someone on their side? Thao: Correct
  • Why were you thinking Floyd’s restraint was beneficial to him? Thao: “To save his life we needed to hold him down for medical personnel.”
  • Thao: Says he wanted to keep the crowd safe and Floyd safe from himself
  • Witness excused.
  • Seng Yang is next on the stand. She has known Thao from working at McDonalds.  They worked together there and then dated for 11 years. They’ve been married for 5 – 6 years.
  • Yang: “He’s not one to disobey the law. He had never gotten in trouble with the law. Not even a speeding ticket.”
  • Defense for Thao rests at 11:37 PM CT / 12:37 PM ET.
  • Joni Kueng follows Yang on the stand. Joni is Kueng’s mother
  • Joni on J. Alexander: “My opinion that he is a very conflict-resolution type of a person. He is peaceful.” … “With four siblings, compassion is a huge character trait.” … “He [J. Alexander] is law-abiding, yes”
  • Defendant J. Alexander Kueng takes the stand.
  • Kueng says heanted to become a police officer “It was just prior to my employment at Macy’s.” “Prior to making that decision, I was not a fan of police whatsoever.” Talks about family involvement with police who were rude, unhelpful, berated mother as being a bad parent, rubbed him the wrong way. … “I should step up if I wanted to be that person” to help his community.
  • Became a police officer after a contact at Macy’s referred him to a MPD community service officer (CSO) position. This is when he was at age 25. At this time he still wasn’t a police officer.
  • Eventually accepted into MPD police academy.
  • Did you get medical training? “I did not.”
  • Did you take an EMR (emergency medical responder) course? Yes, it was the last requirement to get police officer standards and training license.
  • EMR is prior to the start of the academy. The whole course takes one week.
  • What is the first thing you do when you show up
  • “Circulation is checked via the pulse.” Talks about checking Floyd’s carotid pulse.
  • What happens if evaluators are not pleased? Kueng: “You can be terminated”
  • Did you get choke hold training? Kueng: “No sir, neck restraint, not choke hold.”
  • Policy on neck restraints using your leg? Kueng: ”I have never had any neck restraint training using a leg, sir.”
  • Kueng: Only sworn employees sworn to use this technique are authorized to use it
  • Kueng: Duty to intervene is in the manual. No scenario-based training on this
  • Kueng: Excited delirium was part of his training.
  • Kueng on Narcan training: “Narcan is used to reverse a drug overdose.” … Looks for “agonal breathing” and “pinpoint pupils”
  • Kueng on defensive tactics trainings, Did 2x per week, 4 hrs
  • Your FTO is not your peer, they’re the closest thing you have to a sergeant. Kueng also describes an FTO as a “terminator.”
  • Kueng on Chauvin: “He was very quiet. He had a high level of experience, he was very by-the-book. He was very knowledgeable on policy and law.”
  • Kueng on Chauvin: “His reputation was very upright. Fair but tough.”
  • Kueng says: Never been to a forgery call before
  • Details walking into the store and Lane talking to who they thought was the store owner
  • Kueng: “I could hear Lane directing the driver to get out of the car” … “I went to help handcuff the individual with Officer Lane”
  • Kueng: “Wasn’t sure what his [Floyd] status was mentally or physically” … “he had some erratic behaviors, he had foam around his mouth that’s consistent with drug use.” … His legs dropped randomly
  • It was a concern he was behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
  • Kueng; “We weren’t sure to the extent this was strictly a forgery call.”
  • Heard Floyd exclaim that he was claustrophobic. This was inconsistent with the situation observed. The vehicle he was in was much smaller than the squad car
  • Wasn’t sure if his legs dropping was a side effect of being under the influence.
  • Kueng says he and Lane, moreso Lane, tried to address the claustrophobia and roll down the windows.
  • Floyd wasn’t given him [Kueng] much to work with.
  • His behavior just went to extreme measures, he started shaking violently, he smashed his face on the plexiglass of the squad car, he was throwing his legs violently
  • Kueng on Floyd’s strength: “It felt like I had no control. It felt like at any moment he could shut me off.”
  • The person in charge is the senior officer of the first squad that arrives.
  • Knew Chauvin had north of 15 years of experience.
  • Knew Thao had a number of years of experience. (~2 – 3 years)
  • Floyd’s situation was quickly evolving. At that point in time it was escalating.
  • “I have a lot of difficulty hearing things.”
  • Talks about auditory exclusion and tunnel vision in high stress situations.
  • Initially he [Floyd] was placed half on his side
  • Kueng: “I placed my right knee initially by his buttocks. Later, shortly I would move it to his hamstrings.” … It was to assist Officer Lane with restraining the legs. … The hips are generating power. Wanted to avoid the spine.
  • Floyd was “thrashing about very violently”
  • I saw Chauvin’s left knee placed along the upper back and on the neck of Mr. Floyd
  • I could hear voices getting louder on the other side of the car growing in intensity
  • I was concentrating on Mr. Floyd, being able to keep my balance, monitoring his respiration.
  • I do remember hearing a voice from very close, directly behind us, that did startle me…Thao escorted her to the sidewalk.
  • Being approached from behind is a comprise to scene security.
  • Don’t have training on crowd that grows in animosity.
  • Admits he said: “Leave him. Yup.” Was passing on to Lane what Chauvin’s decision was.

Kueng: “Was concerned with Mr. Floyd’s inability to decrease his thrashing”

  • Did a pulse check on his wrist, the radial pulse “at the time it was the only place available to me to check a pulse.” .. said ‘I can’t find one’ … Chauvin asked, ‘What?’ … i replied back, ‘No pulse, I can’t find out’
  • I was passing that information along to Mr. Chauvin who was at the head and could make decision on scene safety and medical care. I was thinking Chavin would check the pulse himself, the carotid one.
  • We are trying to find a pulse on person with handcuff and thrashing about violently.
  • The EMT or paramedic, got out of the rig, looked casual about the situation, Lane attempted ot give him a debrief, paramedic took a carotid pulse, walked back to ambulance “just as casually”
  • “I can’t recall the last time i saw him take a breath.”
  • It was an illustration that maybe i was incorrect. It was not a medical emergency given the casual nature of the EMT.
  • Plunkett plays a video Kueng describes as a use-of-force review
  • Did you give Chauvin a report? Kueng: No sir, not a report, it was kind of, he asked me i believe, if there was anything else to get from the cup foods, informing me and Lane on what to do next
  • Talks about training on constitution. Is aware of unreasonable search and seizures.
  • Kueng; “His conduct was both aggressive and kind of unstable, unpredictable, in order to maintain that situation we wanted to put him in a more controlled environment.”
  • His situation could deteriorate, we wanted to give the paramedics quick access.
  • Worried about the possibility Floyd could spring back to life and we’d lose the ground we’d lost.
  • Trained on swift medical care, should give EMTs quick access to Floyd
  • Kueng: “The overall scene was a very delicate and unbalanced situation.” Talks about where Chauvin was, could not see Thao, could hear crowd getting louder and bigger, had people from behind, radio communications going back and forth, “it was very unstable situation that i feel was not captured accurately on the bodycam.
  • When someone is in your custody they no longer can help themselves? Kueng: “I think of it more as once they’re in your custody, they are your responsibility”
  • You agree sanctity of life is principal foundations of policing? Kueng; Yes ma’am
  • You can use force when someone is not compliant? Yes if they’re still resisting in handcuffs, you can still use force
  • You can use manipulations on an unrestricting handcuffed person? To maintain positive control

DAY 15 – 2/15/22

  • The defense begins their case. Their first witness is FBI Agent Blake Hostetter who interviewed Thao on June 2, 2020.
  • Hostetter’s testimony is brief. He attempted to identify witnesses that could be seen in videos of the incident.
  • One of the defendants, Tou Thao, takes the stand.
  • Thao says his parents came from Laos, they were poor. He says he moved all around North Minneapolis. He adds that he worked during his high school years to support his family. He also says his father threatened to kill everyone in his whole family, forcing everyone to flee the house.
  • Courtroom color: Thao sometimes looks directly at the jury. He appears very relaxed.
  • Paule: Were you one of the larger or smaller officers in your training program? Thao: Smaller, is 5’6”, 150 lbs.
  • Paule: Was it common to use your knees to restrain people? Thao: Yes.
  • Paule: Were you ever corrected? Thao: No.
  • Paule: Did you ever physically touch Mr. Floyd? Thao: I did not.
  • Paule: Did you believe he was in the throes of excited delirium? Thao: Yes.
  • Paule: Why didn’t you check on Mr. Floyd’s condition? Thao: I had a different role.
  • Bell: Would you agree that using force on someone who was unconscious is unnecessary? Thao: Yes.
  • Bell: Can we all agree that when you are trying to get control of someone, you can use your knee? Thao: Getting a knee to get control is entirely different than having someone under control.
  • Bell: If somebody says, ‘I can’t breathe,’ you have to consider it? Thao: Yes.
  • Bell: If someone stops resisting, you need to stop using force, correct? Thao: Yes, in general, but people in excited delirium can get up and run down the street.
  • Bell goes through a second-by-second analysis with Thao of what happened with Floyd.

DAY 14 – 2/14/22

  • Timothy J. Longo, Sr. takes the stand. He’s the associate vice president for safety and security, and assistant chief of police, at the UVA in Virginia.
  • Longo is the prosecution’s use-of-force and policing expert. He’s conducted audits of police departments across the country and provided expert witness testimony on  at least 30 occasions. He says he’s not being compensated for his testimony.
  • To Thao, Kueng, and Lane’s conducts, Longo says they were inconsistent with generally accepted police practices.
  • Longo: “Once custody transfers, so does that duty of care.”
  • Longo: MPD training and policy is consistent with generally accepted police practices on duty of care.
  • Longo says calling for medical attention could satisfy the duty to intervene but if you’ve been trained to render aid, you have a duty to render it. It’s a collective responsibility for every law enforcement on the scene.
  • Longo: If a person is prone, it would be contrary to general police practice to leave them in the prone position.
  • Longo: “Neck restraints are not supposed to be used on people who are not actively resisting.”
  • Longo on Thao’s actions: Even though the bystanders were loud, they didn’t do anything that would supersede an officer’s duty to intervene
  • Longo on Kueng: Regarding the officers’ experience levels, they were fellow officers at that point, not field training. According to police principles, they should have intervened.
  • Thomas Plunkett, J. Alexander Kueng’s attorney, cross-examines Longo.
  • Plunkett questions Longo on his “failure to review training and culture” as part of the report he wrote for the Floyd case.
  • Plunkett notes Longo didn’t sit in the classes Kueng took, so Longo can’t say what learning material Kueng received.
  • Plunkett plays the “Any Given Sunday” audio that was previously played in court. He asks if that theme is consistent with police practices. Longo: I don’t know the context in which it was shown.
  • Plunkett shows the use-of-force training deck with the one slide on duty to intervene. He asks if that was sufficient training on this topic. Judge Magnuson sustains Trepel’s objection that Plunkett is being argumentative.
  • Robert Paule, Tou Thao’s attorney, is next up to cross.
  • Paule: Would you agree that just because something tragic happens and police were involved, that doesn’t necessarily mean a crime has been committed? Longo: Yes.
  • Paule: What if the officer, on good faith, believes someone is a threat? What impact does that have on their duty to intervene? Longo: The level of force is dictated by the level of the threat.
  • Earl Gray, for Thomas Lane, is last up to cross.
  • Gray reiterates the timeline of events that pertain to Lane.
  • Gray: Should Lane have removed Chauvin from Floyd? Wasn’t it enough to suggest that the be rolled on his side? Longo: “It’s not an action. No one put him on his side.”
  • Samantha Trepel, for the prosecution, asks Longo to review MPD policy that notes that officers will face disciplinary action for failing to adhere to standards.
  • Longo: “There’s a lot of common sense that goes into knowing when you have a duty to intervene.”
  • Witness excused.
  • Darnella Frazier, 18 years old, recorded video of the scene on May 25, 2020.
  • Frazier upon taking the stand immediately breaks down crying, says “I can’t do it.”
  • Frazier walks out of the courtroom. “I can’t do it. There’s so much pressure.”
  • Frazier is re-seated.
  • Frazier says she accompanied her young cousin to Cup Foods on May 25.
  • LeeAnn Bell for the prosecution asks, what did you observe about the officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck? Frazier responds that the officer never let up to give Floyd air.
  • Bell: What did you observe of Floyd? Frazier: He was very uncomfortable. It looked like he couldn’t breathe.
  • Bell: Why did you have to ask how long they had to hold him down? Frazier: He couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t understand why they had to keep holding him down if he couldn’t breathe
  • Gray focuses his questions on whether Frazier observed the ambulance leaving. Frazier: I don’t remember.
  • The state rests

DAY 13 – 2/11/22

  • Chief Kelly McCarthy from the Mendota Heights Police Department takes the stand.
  • Chief McCarthy is the chair of the Police Officers Standards and Training board (POST).
  • Chief McCarthy testifies to Lane and Kueng’s completion of POST training.
  • Chief McCarthy on constitutional rights. She says this is a learning objective of POST training: “You have a fourth amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.”
  • Chief McCarthy: Because there were so many in-custody deaths, we had to make positional asphyxia one of the learning objectives.
  • Chief McCarthy testifies about other learning objectives – taking subjects into custody who have medical  conditions, use-of-force decisions, legal consequences for inappropriate use of force.
  • Chief McCarthy says the duty to intervene is a core learning objective. It helps make sure officers are acting in a legal, ethical, and moral way.
  • Robert Paule, Tou Thao’s attorney, makes some clarifications on POST learning objectives.
  • Alyssa Funari, a Minneapolis resident takes the stand. She was 17-years old when the incident happened. She’s now 19.
  • Funari recorded three videos of the incident (which focus mostly on Thao) on her friend’s phone. She’s seen in another video in a white top and jeans.
  • Funari: “I instantly knew he [Floyd] was in distress. He wasn’t happy.”
  • Funari: “He was moving, making facial expressions that he was in pain. He was telling us that he was in pain.”
  • Courtroom color: Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend, appears to be holding back sobs as the video of Floyd’s arrest is played.
  • Funari: “I just felt like I needed to get everything on camera.”
  • The prosecution asks, “What if any medical assistance did you see Officer Thao perform?” Funari responds, “None.” About the other officers she says, “I only saw the two pulse checks. Nothing more.”
  • Robert Paule, Tou Thao’s defense attorney, describes how Thao had his back to the scene. Funari responds to Paule who says Thao couldn’t see behind him. Funari says, “You can hear it.”
  • Paule asks if Funari knew Floyd was on drugs. Funari responds that she doesn’t think it should matter.
  • FBI Special Agent Matthew Vogel the next witness to take the stand. He says he previously worked in a unit that managed public corruption and civil rights for all FBI offices nationwide.
  • Vogel says his role was to review video evidence, review written statements from the officers, identify who was on the scene, note details from the scene.
  • Prosecutor LeeAnn Bell begins introducing evidence – the names and ages of people on the scene, testimony heard on body worn cameras, and several timelines.
  • Among the evidence being shown is the portion of the video of Floyd’s arrest which shows the conversation between officers about getting the hobble restraint. Thao goes to get the hobble. After, the officers decide not to use the hobble because EMS is on the way.
  • Another portion of the video: Lane asks if the officers should get Floyd’s legs up. Chauvin says no. Kueng says, just leave him, yep.
  • Another portion of the video: Thao says, “Hard to talk if you’re not breathing.”
  • Bell then goes through a timeline where she compares what the officers did in relation to Floyd’s condition and the bystanders’ observations.
  • Bell then asks Vogel about the officers’ past police reports. Vogel says Thao had been on at least one call with someone who had breathing problems, Kueng went on a call where someone was placed on their side and Narcan was used.
  • Plunkett brings up a previous quiz Kueng took. Plunkett shows the quiz does not cover anything about intervening, side-recovery, or contacting EMS.
  • Gray points out that Lane had his hand down by Floyd’s ankle to check Floyd’s pulse. Vogel says Lane’s hand is not by Floyd’s artery but acknowledges “He [Lane] may have attempted to” check for a pulse.
  • Gray, like with previous witnesses, reiterates Lane’s actions from the scene to the jury.
  • Paule plays a portion of the video where it’s difficult to discern what’s being said. He makes the point that someone’s words can be interpreted in various ways.
  • Bell quickly addresses the key points each of the defense attorneys made on cross. Vogel answers. He points out when mace came out in the timeline, clarifies when Lane checked Floyd’s ankle, says even though Kueng’s quiz didn’t mention intervention, side-recovery, or contacting EMS, the quiz did mention rendering first aid after physical force.
  • Gray clarifies when the ambulance arrived.
  • Witness is excused.

DAY 12 – 2/10/22

  • McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist from the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension returns to the stand.
  • Anderson says she removed pills from George Floyd’s Mercedes – not the first time she searched the car, but at another time on December 9, 2020 – months after the incident.
  • Anderson says the lab detected meth, not fentanyl, from the pills.
  • Robert Paule, Tou Thao’s defense attorney, begins cross.
  • Paule asks if Anderson saw the video where Thao asks Floyd if he’s on drugs. Anderson says no.
  • Paule, like Gray, emphasizes Anderson failed to collect the pills from the scene. Anderson says, “There was no information, we weren’t looking for controlled substances.”
  • Paule introduces a search warrant for the Mercedes. Anderson reads it. Among the items to be searched, the warrant states, “Any and all narcotics and or alcohol or any substances that would alter state of mind” is permissible.
  • Anderson says the $20 bills in the car were collected and were determined to be counterfeit.
  • LeeAnn Bell for the prosecution asks Anderson about her role. Anderson says she is a scientist, not a law enforcement officer nor an agent. She understood she was to seize blood samples and a cell phone. She also says she noted all of the items at the scene, including the pills, just in case there was a need to go back.
  • Witness excused.
  • Lt. Richard Zimmerman from the Minneapolis Police Department is up next. He takes the stand.
  • Lt. Zimmerman says he’s the most senior officer, is the oldest and employed the longest.
  • Lt. Zimmerman: If you see an officer using too much force or doing something illegal, you must intervene to stop that officer. “If you see an officer not providing medical care for a person, first aid, then you intervene. You begin it.” … “We all wear the same badge, and all have the same responsibility.”
  • Lt. Zimmerman goes beyond the duty to intervene to say he “expects officers to tell the truth.”
  • The prosecution plays a portion of the video of Floyd’s arrest. Lane is heard saying Floyd is “fighting the whole time.”
  • Lt. Zimmerman says the officers failed to mention they put Floyd in the prone position, and that Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
  • Lt. Zimmerman: “What they told me and what was on the video was totally different in my viewing of it.” He says the knee on the neck is concerning but the knee on the neck for “nine minutes or so” is really concerning.
  • Lt. Zimmerman: Once Floyd is handcuffed, that’s when officers employ “in your custody is in your care.” He clarifies, that is when you’re responsible for them.
  • Lt. Zimmerman: The officers didn’t move Chauvin off Floyd’s neck. They didn’t too anything as far as intervening.
  • Lt. Zimmerman on the officers’ inexperience: When we take our oath to be police officers and they pin the badge on us, it doesn’t mean you get a free pass for a day, or week, or six months, or a year. It means you’re responsible for a person’s safety just as much as I would be, or the Chief of Police would be. We all take the same oaths.
  • Lt. Zimmerman on the bystanders: “Based on what I saw in the video and based on the hundreds and hundreds of crime scenes I’ve been to, they weren’t a threat, they were actually trying to help with their suggestions, help Mr. Floyd be able to breathe.”
  • Lt. Zimmerman continues. He says the officers didn’t provide first aid, didn’t provide CPR.
  • Plunkett tries to make clear that Lt. Zimmerman is not a use-of-force trainer.
  • Plunkett also makes clear that this isn’t Lt. Zimmerman’s investigation. It’s never been since the very day it started. Lt. Zimmerman agrees, says the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was brought in so that the MPD wouldn’t have to investigate their own officers.
  • Plunkett notes Sgt. Edwards was the incident commander on scene, that no officer was to be questioned on the scene by anyone or to report what did or did not happen, much less Lt. Zimmerman. Lt. Zimmerman agrees.
  • Lt. Zimmerman concedes Chauvin is a “jerk” and shouldn’t be an FTO.
  • Paule asks Lt. Zimmerman if Thao offered up the hobble. Lt. Zimmerman says yes, says Chauvin refused it.
  • Gray points out Lane de-escalated the situation with Floyd by putting his gun away.
  • Again, like before, Gray highlights that Lane suggested rolling Floyd on his side, that EMS took over the scene,
  • Samantha Trepel from the prosecution asks if Lt. Zimmerman saw the officers intervene. He says no.
  • Lt. Zimmerman says his role was to see if a critical incident occurred.
  • Lt. Zimmerman reiterates that to do something is not merely to suggest doing something, each officer has a duty to intervene.
  • Lt. Zimmerman addresses the bystanders: “Mr. Floyd was slowly being killed and the bystanders were trying to offer their help, suggestions to do something. That’s all it was.”
  • Lt. Zimmerman on Thao: “He was watching and assisting with Mr. Floyd for quite a while.” … “It appears they [the bystanders] were offering more intervention than the officers were.”
  • Lt. Zimmerman on Lane: He did “nothing” to help Floyd when he was on the ground. … “He didn’t follow policy and procedure by intervening. He didn’t put Mr. Floyd in a recovery position. Mr. Floyd was handcuffed by him and his partner and they should have taken care of the person they had in their custody. It’s that simple.”
  • Gray reiterates Lane’s role at the scene – that he checked the pulse, an ambulance arrived, and a paramedic took over. Lt. Zimmerman agrees this happened.
  • Plunkett points out there is no policy stating the first person to handcuff a subject is the person who’s in charge of the scene.
  • Paule asks if Thao watched the paramedic walk around Floyd’s body to take a pulse. Lt. Zimmerman says yes.
  • Trepel asks if Lt. Zimmerman has been aware of his duty to intervene for 41 years. He says yes.

 

DAY 11 – 2/9/22

  • Juror #47 excused for family matter, replaced by Juror #65. Five alternates remain.
  • Dr. Vik Bebarta takes the stand, he’s an ER physician and toxicologist.
  • Dr. Bebarta on George Floyd’s cause of death: He died from lack of oxygen to his brain as a result of being suffocated. His airway was closed and he could not breathe.
  • Dr. Bebarta on Floyd’s meth level: 19 ng/ml. 19 is a a very low number. 64 – 84 would be the amount of someone taking ADHD drugs. When someone dies from meth, they are at 200.
  • Dr. Bebarta on Floyd’s fentanyl level: 11 ng/ml. In my experience, that’s a low number. A range of 11 – 20 is the range for giving fentanyl in hospital procedures. Patients who die from fentanyl overdose have a concentration of 40 or higher.
  • Dr. Bebarta says Floyd had a tolerance to opioids. He says Floyd had been seen several times for opioid use and abuse in the past.
  • Manda Sertich, the prosecuting attorney asks, did Floyd die from drug overdose? Dr. Bebarta: He did not.
  • Sertich: What impact did Floyd’s heart disease and high blood pressure play in his death? Dr. Bebarta: It did not have an impact.
  • Dr. Bebarta on excited delirium: “I have opinion that he did not die from what people refer to as excited delirium.”
  • Dr. Bebarta denies seeing symptoms of excited delirium on the video of Floyd’s arrest. “He did not manifest any of these [symptoms].”
  • Dr. Bebarta says excited delirium would’ve caused a sudden death. To him, Floyd suffered a slow death.
  • Dr. Bebarta: Floyd would’ve lived if he was repositioned.
  • Dr. Bebarta: Floyd could’ve been revived if CPR was started right away. The officers had the best chance of reviving him.
  • Robert Paule, Tou Thao’s defense attorney, approaches the lectern to cross-examine the doctor.
  • Paule: Your medical opinion on Floyd’s cause of death is different from Dr. Andrew Baker’s? (Reminder: Dr. Baker performed the autopsy on Floyd.) Dr. Bebarta doesn’t fully answer the question, says officers don’t have the life support trainings a physician has, says he doesn’t know what type of training these officers received.
  • Thomas Plunkett, J. Alexander Kueng’s attorney, is next up to cross.
  • Plunkett criticizes Dr. Bebarta. Plunkett says Dr. Bebarta wrote his report in a comfortable environment, unlike the officers who were with Floyd.
  • Plunkett takes another jab at the doctor, says Dr. Bebarta “didn’t have a boss to report to.” The officers on scene had Derek Chauvin.
  • Earl Gray, Thomas Lane’s attorney, is the last of the three defense attorneys to cross.
  • Gray: If someone has a knee over someone’s neck, it would be hard to check the pulse of the carotid, right? Dr. Bebarta refuses to answer the question, states it’s not a yes or no answer.
  • Gray says the paramedic moved Floyd to the ambulance to start chest compressions, as opposed to doing them while Floyd was on the ground. Dr. Bebarta says the paramedic was trying to get Floyd to the hospital.
  • Gray reiterates the same point he’s been making to several witnesses: Lane did chest compressions. Dr. Bebarta: Yes, the paramedic asked him to do chest compressions.
  • Sertich: What do you do if you can’t find a pulse? Dr. Bebarta: You have to assume there isn’t one and treat the patient.
  • Sertich: Would have administering ketamine been appropriate? Dr. Bebarta: No because Floyd was dead.
  • Paule turns his question towards “hooping” (when people take drugs rectally). Dr. Bebarta says he didn’t hear Floyd mention that he was hooping on the part of the bodycam video that he watched.
  • Gray: Lane provided care by doing CPR? Dr. Bebarta: After cardiac arrest.
  • Plunkett: You don’t have medical training for the MPD, right? Dr. Bebarta: I do not.
  • Witness dismissed.
  • McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist from the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension takes the stand.
  • Anderson says that when she collected materials from Floyd’s vehicle, she didn’t collect the pills. “I had no information at the time that any of those items were relevant.”
  • Anderson says the pills in Floyd’s car were meth.

DAY 10 – 2/8/22

  • Nicole MacKenzie returns to the stand. (As a reminder, she trained Defendants Lane and Kueng on EMR, emergency medical response. She’s an MPD Medical Response Coordinator.)
  • MacKenzie: “If you can’t detect a pulse after about 10 seconds, then you should give someone CPR.”
  • Courtroom color: Natalie Paule (One of Thao’s defense attorneys) hands post-it notes to Earl Gray and Defendant Thomas Lane. At one point, Lane reads the note, looks behind him to face Thao’s table and nods.
  • MacKenzie defines agonal breathing – When someone is making sounds from their mouth, as if they’re gasping. This is a person’s last attempt to pull in oxygen. Officers are trained to know what this looks like, and if they see it, they should begin CPR.
  • Lane’s exams for this training course are shown in court. He passed with nearly perfect scores.
  • Robert Paule asks for a limiting statement that the trainings Lane and Kueng received are not pertinent to Thao. The judge agrees and reads the limiting statement.
  • One of Kueng’s training assessments is shown in court. This one is about his understanding of the concepts of airway, breathing, and circulation. He scored a 17/17.
  • MacKenzie testifies to the excited delirium section of the training course. She says it’s “quite rare.” In five years of her being on patrol, she says she has maybe seen it once.
  • Question: If it’s so rare, why is it taught? Answer: Because if someone is experiencing it, it’s very likely going to result in a 911 call.
  • MacKenzie shoes the training course outlines on how to put a subject in a recovery position to alleviate positional asphyxia.
  • MacKenzie says if there’s a reasonable belief that a subject has used opioids, MPD officers are trained to administer Narcan. She adds, there’s really no adverse side effects if you were to give it to someone who didn’t have opioids in their system.
  • MacKenzie: MN doesn’t require officers to keep this training certification.
  • MacKenzie: MN does require officers to take a refresher CPR training course because it is a “perishable” skill.
  • Slaughter plays George Floyd’s arrest video.
  • Courtroom color: Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend, appears to have her eyes closed. At a later point she appears to be crying.
  • Slaughter: What are officers trained to do if the subject appears under the influence of drugs and complain of the pain? MacKenzie: Position them in a way to alleviate the pain. Handcuffs should be re-checked for correct fit.
  • Slaughter’s next question is about what MacKenzie saw in the video and if Kueng’s actions aligned with MPD policies and medical training. MacKenzie says Kueng’s actions are not aligned, that once the officers gained compliance, and heard Floyd say he had trouble breathing “then you need to fix that,” whether by standing him up, sitting him up, or putting him in the side recovery position.
  • Slaughter asks the same question, but in regard to Lane. MacKenzie says his actions are inconsistent with MPD policies and medical training.
  • Slaughter asks the same question, but in regard to Thao. To this, Robert Paule objects, says Thao isn’t even seen in the video. Judge Magnuson sustains the objection.
  • MacKenzie says she saw no efforts to put Floyd on his side.
  • Robert Paule, Tou Thao’s defense attorney, is first up to cross-examine MacKenzie.
  • Paule has MacKenzie describe scenario trainings. These are defensive tactic trainings. In these trainings, officers are taught to provide medical aid. He asks MacKenzie if this is called “hell week.” She says, “Sometimes.”
  • MacKenzie explains that, during these trainings people are tackling each other, doing pain compliance techniques, knee strikes, etc.
  • Paule: And neck restraints? MacKenzie: Also neck restraints. Though policies have changed since she went through the training.
  • Paule: People get injured during these trainings?  MacKenzie: “Force really never looks good even when it’s completely necessary and completely legal and within policy. Force never really looks good. It can be difficult to watch.”
  • Paule pulls up the excited delirium PowerPoint slide that was shown to the jury earlier. He points out a photo of an officer with their knee on a subject’s upper shoulders and neck. “Would it appear to be the knee is on that person’s neck?” MacKenzie hesitantly says, it could be.
  • MacKenzie is shown more PowerPoint slides, one of which contains a video of a man punching a fence and then being subdued and arrested. MacKenzie clarifies that these kinds of situations can be dangerous and that normal practices might not work.
  • Paule: What’s the number one goal for an officer every day? MacKenzie: Go home safe.
  • Paule turns his attention back to the video, asks what tactics were used to subdue the subject. MacKenzie notes verbal compliance was used, mace was used, eventually bodyweight was used to handcuff him. She says at least eight or nine officers were used to subdue him.
  • Paule: Were knees used? MacKenzie: It appears some officers might have used knees.
  • Paule: Should trainers be stepping in if they see something wrong? MacKenzie: If it’s dangerous, but they might offer a note after the scenario has played out.
  • Paule then plays other videos where officers are seen using their knees to subdue subjects, and no officers stepped in.
  • MacKenzie then testifies to auditory exclusion – When someone becomes so focused on something, they may not hear things around them.
  • Paule asks if MacKenzie has ever seen bystanders interfering or attacking EMS. She says yes, misinformation was spread.
  • Thomas Plunkett, the defense attorney for J. Alexander Kueng, is next to cross MacKenzie.
  • Plunkett brings up scene safety in hostile situations. Jurors hear about two options flee or fight. Plunkett makes the point that if the scene is hostile, one might have to flee, then start treating others when the scene is safe.
  • Plunkett then highlights Kueng’s training on ensuring a scene is safe before checking for a carotid artery pulse, and how this is a factor in determining when to begin CPR.
  • MacKenzie says Derek Chauvin was best positioned for a carotid pulse check.
  • Plunkett says Kueng checked for a radial pulse, didn’t find one, then alerted Chauvin to this.
  • Plunkett:  Kueng and Lane asked for a maximum restraint technique (MRT). This was overruled by Chauvin, the senior officer. If they had done this, Floyd would’ve ended up in the recovery position? MacKenzie: Yes.
  • Earl Gray, the defense attorney for Thomas Lane, is the last person up to cross.
  • Gray points out that Lane asked multiple people if Floyd was on drugs. MacKenzie agrees that this was consistent with training.
  • Gray continues to make the case for Lane – that when there was a struggle to get Floyd in the squad car, Lane offered to open the windows to alleviate claustrophobia, that Lane suggested to Chauvin that Floyd should be moved to his side, that Lane said he was worried about excited delirium, that Lane expressed concern by saying that he thought Floyd was passing out, that Lane asked Kueng if Floyd had a pulse, that Lane offered to ride in the ambulance, that Lane did chest compressions, that Lane made an attempt to put Floyd in a recovery position. All the while, Gray points out that Chauvin, the 19-year veteran was the primary leader to the three officers on scene.
  • MacKenzie: Lane did what he was trained to do “to a certain degree.”
  • MacKenzie: If you delay care for six minutes, you could be liable.
  • MacKenzie: The officers on scene would have had an opportunity to do chest compressions there. Gray: You weren’t there but you are willing to judge these rookie officers? Judge rules this as argumentative.
  • MacKenzie on Lane: “Suggesting aid and actually rendering aid are very different things.” … “Merely offering a suggesting will not pump blood throughout your system.”
  • Slaughter: What were bystanders asking? MacKenzie: They were asking to check Floyd’s pulse, stand him up.
  • Slaughter: Was CPR consistent with Lane’s medical training? MacKenzie: It was consistent. Though, it was initiated at the instruction of a paramedic.
  • Paule: Did you see Thao ask, “What are you on?” MacKenzie: Yes.
  • Paule: That means he’s assessing a patient? MacKenzie: Yes.
  • Paule: Did you hear Thao request for EMS code three? MacKenzie: Yes.
  • Plunkett: Kueng couldn’t see anything from the perspective of people on the sidewalk? MacKenzie: Yes.
  • Gray: Paramedics took over when they arrive because this is what they do? MacKenzie: Officers are taught to defer to them.
  • Slaughter: Who has the duty to intervene? MacKenzie: “Everyone. Every law enforcement officer.”
  • Witness dismissed.

DAY 9 – 2/7/22

  • Prosecution witness #12 takes the stand: Dr. David Systrom, Pulmonary and Critical Care Expert. (He works at a hospital associated with the Harvard Medical School.)
  • Dr. Systrom primarily explains what happens when normal lung and heart functions come to a stop.
  • Dr. Systrom: The brain being starved of oxygen can lead to a cessation of breathing and then loss of consciousness.
  • AUSA Manda Sertich delves into the video of Floyd’s arrest. She points out the moments when Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Dr. Systrom says, this happened “25 times.”
  • Observations from the courtroom: One juror is actively taking notes while others turn their heads between the judge, defense attorneys (who repeatedly object to Ms. Sertich’s line of questioning), and the witness.
  • Dr. Systrom: Floyd died from asphyxia – insufficient breathing. Dr. Systrom elaborates on this. He says there was obstruction to Floyd’s ventilation, specifically that Floyd’s upper airway was compressed by Officer Chauvin’s knee. Also, Dr. Systrom says Floyd suffered from inadequate breathing while being restrained in the prone position.
  • Dr. Systrom: Floyd’s chance of survival “would have doubled or tripled” had CPR been given to him after cardiac arrest.
  • The prosecution ends their direct examination with questions on medical assistance and chances of survival if Floyd had been repositioned. To the former, Dr. Systrom says, “I did not see any [medical assistance administered].” To the latter, if Floyd was re-positioned his chances of survival would be “close to 100%.”
  • Roberte Paule, the defense attorney for Tou Thao, begins cross.
  • Paule attempts to show Dr. Systrom’s partiality by introducing a news photo. This photo shows Dr. Systrom at a vigil for Floyd. Paule says the vigil was to “stand in solidarity” with those killed by police.
  • Paule goes after Dr. Systrom’s credibility again. This time bringing up his rate for testifying – $600 an hour. Dr. Systrom estimates he’s worked 20 hours so far,  bringing his current income from this trial to $12,000.
  • Paule attempts to bring up an inconsistency with the prosecution’s case – that Dr. Baker determined Floyd’s cause of death to be cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression. This contrasts Dr. Systrom’s finding. He believes Floyd’s cause of death to be asphyxia.
  • Paule asks Dr. Systrom about bagging procedures. Dr. Systrom explains this procedure helps to relax a patient’s lungs.
  • It is revealed that the bagging procedure done on Floyd was not initially done correctly. The oxygen was not hooked up until a firefighter arrived on scene.
  • Thomas Plunkett, the defense attorney for J. Alexander Kueng, is the next person to cross-examine Dr. Systrom.
  • Plunkett questions Dr. Systrom on the amount of weight Kueng placed on Floyd’s body. It appears Plunkett is trying to indicate Kueng hardly put any weight on Floyd. Dr. Systrom says he’s unable to tell.
  • Dr. Systrom tries to push back on Plunkett’s efforts to move accountability away from Kueng. Dr. Systrom says, Kueng had a “front row seat” to the scene and “knew when Floyd lost his pulse.”
  • Earl Gray, the defense attorney for Thomas Lane, indicates the paramedic that arrived on scene expressed no sense of urgency when attending to Floyd. Gray points out the paramedic walked to the ambulance and walked out with a stretcher before transporting Floyd into the ambulance.
  • AUSA Manda Sertich on redirect tries to bring back the credibility Paule tried to take away. She asks Dr. Systrom if attending the vigil had any effect on his medical opinion. He says no.
  • Sertich goes back to the subject of bagging. Dr. Systrom clarifies that bagging doesn’t require oxygen to be connected right away. He says it more than likely made no difference.
  • Gray asks, if Lane didn’t know there wasn’t a chance of reviving Floyd, would you agree, he would not have done CPR? Dr. Systrom agrees.
  • Prosecution witness #13 takes the stand – Nicole MacKenzie is a MPD officer who trained Lane and Kueng on providing medical care.
  • MacKenzie says in her training course, she teaches officers – on day one – about the side recovery position.
  • MacKenzie echoes the prosecution’s opening statement theme – that police have a duty to render aid.

DAY 8 – 2/2/22

  • The judge announces that one of the defendants has tested positive for COVID. Court is in recess until Monday at 9:30 AM CT. Defendants Kueng and Thao were seen in the courtroom, Lane was not.

DAY 7 – 2/1/22

  • Dr. Andrew Baker, who performed George Floyd’s autopsy, details the pressure his office was receiving in late May of 2020 when protests erupted in the area.
  • Dr. Baker says it wasn’t his decision for his initial findings on Floyd’s death to be released to the public
  • At about 10:50 AM, a female juror in seat 15 goes to the judge’s staff who then proceed to help her out the back door. The judge announces to the room that he was told the woman was shaking, thus prompting a 15-minute recess.
  • Paule brings up Dr. Baker’s grand jury testimony, about whether he had been pressured while on the case. Dr. Baker confers with counsel before saying he and his office received “hundreds” of threats. He also admits that county leaders questioned him and his position on the Floyd case.
  • Dr. Baker: Defendant Kueng’s knee on Floyd’s thigh did not have an impact on Floyd’s ability to breathe
  • Dr. Baker: Defendant Lane’s position on Floyd was “completely unrelated” to Floyd’s ability to breathe
  • Dr. Baker clarifies that despite his credibility being questioned by county leaders, no medical professionals ever changed his opinion on Floyd’s cause of death.
  • Dr. Baker says he did not cite excited delirium on Floyd’s death certificate.
  • Prosecution Witness #11: Christopher Douglas from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Hennepin County (He trained Defendant Lane on a refresher course – restrictive procedures training)
  • Douglas details Lane’s training: Applying the correct restraint procedures, keeping people on their feet, handcuffing people in various positions
  • Douglas: Once a subject is restrained, they should be moved to the prone position to allow for better breathing
  • Gray: Should you ask the subject whether they’re on drugs?, Douglas: Yes.
  • Gray: Did Defendant Lane have issues while working at the juvenile detention center?, Douglas: None.
  • Douglas says public safety officers should do more than wait for an ambulance, they should provide medical aid if they can

DAY 6 – 1/31/22

  • MPD Inspector Katie Blackwell returns to the stand for the third day in a row. She spent about two days on direct examination from prosecutors and part of one day on cross from Thomas Plunkett, the defense attorney for J. Alexander Kueng. Today, she begins her testimony on cross from Robert Paule, the defense attorney for Tou Thao.
  • Paule delves into Inspector Blackwell’s MPD trainings, specifically the ones on neck restraints and excited delirium.
  • Paule introduces Defendant Thao’s training history which shows he attended these MPD trainings in 2018.
  • Paule begins to go through an MPD in-service training PowerPoint on excited delirium. He goes through several slides.
  • Paule plays at least seven videos embedded in this MPD PowerPoint. The videos show suspects being chased down by MPD officers. Paule confirms with Inspector Blackwell that each video shows officers using their legs to restrain each suspect – Inspector Blackwell previously testified to not training officers on leg restraints, but on neck restraints. None of the videos show the the latter.
  • Through his questioning, Paule also emphasizes the MPD’s officers’ training on restraining their suspects – those thought to be experiencing excited delirium – until medical personnel arrive to administer ketamine.
  • Just prior to the morning break, Paule asks Inspector Blackwell, in this MPD PowerPoint, there is only one sentence that mentions putting a suspect in a side position? Inspector Blackwell answers, “Correct.”
  • Defense Attorney Earl Gray, for Defendant Thomas Lane, steps up to the lectern. He begins his cross-examination of Inspector Blackwell.
  • In his cross, Gray points out every moment Defendant Lane employed a de-escalation technique towards Floyd – re-holstering his gun when Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel, asking Floyd if he was on “something” (i.e. drugs), attempting to put Floyd in the squad car to create a barrier between Floyd and all officers, and putting Floyd on the ground when Floyd indicated he wanted to be on the ground.
  • Gray is also quick to point out that when Floyd was actively resisting, there was no need for Lane to interfere with Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd. To this, Inspector Blackwell stated, “Not at that moment.”
  • Gray continues to shine a light on Lane’s adherence to his training and his “above and beyond” actions: That Lane brought up excited delirium to Chauvin, that Lane asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side, that Lane checked for Floyd’s pulse on his ankle, that Lane asked if he should get in the ambulance, and that that Lane did chest compressions.
  • AUSA LeeAnn Bell approaches the lectern for redirect.
  • Bell questions Inspector Blackwell on which circumstances officers would need to use their knees to restrain a suspect. Inspector Blackwell answers, “If a person is still showing active resistance, active aggression, not complying.” Inspector Blackwell clarifies the goal is to get the suspect handcuffed. She continues, “Once they have handcuffs on, then it’s the side recovery position.”
  • Bell then turns to Lane’s inactions while on the scene at Cup Foods on May 25, 2020. Bell asks, what did Lane do when Floyd stopped talking?  Inspector Blackwell responds, “Nothing.” Bell connects this point to count two by questioning Blackwell on an officer’s duty to intervene. To this, Inspector Blackwell reiterates, an officer must stop or attempt to stop any inappropriate attempted force being used.
  • Bell then goes after all three officers for count three – What did you see Lane, Kueng, or Thao do to render medical aid to Floyd when he was in police custody? Inspector Blackwell responds with the same answer to all three officers, “Nothing.”
  • In re-cross, the defense attorneys reiterate some of their main points – that only sworn employees are allowed to use neck restraints, the side-recovery position is only mentioned once in MPD training, and that Lane attempted to intervene to render aid to Floyd.
  • After three days, Inspector Blackwell is excused.
  • Prosecution witness #10, Dr. Andrew Baker, takes the stand. He performed the autopsy on George Floyd.
  • Dr. Baker testifies Floyd’s cause of death is cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression
  • Dr. Baker on Floyd’s manner of death: “I classify Mr. Floyd’s death to be a homicide.”

DAY 5 – 1/28/22

  • MN Police Inspector: Officers have an obligation to protect the public and employees
  • Prosecution plays MPD training video
  • Prosecution introduces MPD training manual
  • MN Police Inspector: “You should threaten use of force before you use use-of-force”
  • MN Police Inspector explains passive and active resistance, and active aggression
  • MN Police Inspector details MPD policy on neck restraints
  • MPD Inspector: Officers not following policy training because they are not communicating with one another
  • MPD Inspector: Thao, Kueng, and Lane’s actions are inconsistent with policy training
  • MN Police Inspector: The crowd wasn’t an “immediate threat” to the three officers
  • MN Police Inspector: Did not observe Kueng intervene
  • MN Police Inspector on cross: There are “hundreds” of pages in MPD policy manual
  • Defense questions MN Police Inspector on MPD Academy manual
  • MN Police Inspector on cross says changes were made to Academy training manual
  • MN Police Inspector: The Academy doesn’t train on the leg restraint
  • MPD Inspector on cross: MPD Handbook doesn’t discuss if recruits should intervene
  • Thomas Plunkett demonstrates maximal restraint technique for the jury
  • Defense attorney for Defendant Kueng demonstrates maximal restraint technique

DAY 4 – 1 /27/22

  • MN Police Inspector testifies to training needed to become a police officer
  • MN Police Inspector: Police academy is 18 – 19 weeks long
  • MN Police Inspector: MN officers come on board with Narcan training
  • MN Police Inspector details officer defensive tactic training
  • MN Police Inspector: Truthfulness is our “biggest value”
  • MN Police Inspector: “You’re constantly reassessing what you have in front of you”
  • MN Police Inspector: The duty to intervene can be used to protect other officers
  • MN Police Inspector details MPD side recovery position procedure
  • MN Police Inspector: Maximum restraint is to protect the combative person and other officers
  • MN Police Inspector: Maximum restraint is for people who are kicking and flailing with us
  • Doctor who treated George Floyd takes the stand
  • Doctor: There was attempted resuscitation on Floyd for approximately 30 minutes
  • Doctor: No one, other than paramedics, started CPR on Floyd
  • Doctor: Likely causes of Floyd’s cardiac arrest include mechanical asphyxia, excited delirium, and a severely agitated state
  • Doctor: There wasn’t enough information to say Floyd was in a state of severe agitation
  • Doctor doesn’t think Floyd’s state of severe agitation could lead to cardiac arrest
  • MN Police Inspector explains MPD crisis intervention policy
  • MN Police Inspector: Thao received basic medical training
  • MN Police Inspector: Thao received field casualty care training
  • Prosecution MN police witness: Thao had crisis intervention training
  • MN Police Inspector: Officers are trained on different cultures and religions to communicate better with the public

DAY 3 – 1 /26/22

  • Paramedic assessed Floyd’s condition: “I did not see any chest rise and fall”
  • Paramedic: Floyd’s pupils were large, indicated he was “probably deceased”
  • Body camera footage shows Defendant Thomas Lane performing chest compressions on George Floyd
  • Paramedic testifies to Defendant Thomas Lane performing chest compressions on George Floyd
  • Paramedic: “I felt there was a hostile crowd, yes”
  • As Defendant Thomas Lane’s bodycam plays, Floyd family shows no reaction
  • Fire captain dispatched to Cup Foods takes the stand
  • Defense attorney questions fire captain on excited delirium
  • Fire captain testifies there’s no hard fast rule on what excited delirium is
  • Off duty firefighter testifies to what she observed at the scene
  • Off duty firefighter: “I had no idea what Thao understood, what he knew about what was going on behind him”
  • Defense attorney for J. Alexander Kueng makes second motion today for a mistrial, judge denies

DAY 2 – 1 /25/22

  • FBI Multimedia Forensic Examiner shows jury J. Alexander Kueng’s and Tou Thao’s body-worn camera video and Darnella Frazier cell phone video
  • Judge calls it inappropriate to keep Kueng’s mother from sitting in the gallery, despite sequester order.
  • Defendants sit motionless as their own actions that day play out on monitors throughout courtroom
  • Second government witness testifies, store attendant who accepted alleged counterfeit $20
  • Teen at scene of Floyd death says he tried to calm Defendant Thao down and “diffuse the situation”
  • Courteney Ross seated in gallery, emotional watching body worn camera video
  • Passerby testifies that he approaches the scene, says “I see a commotion, I hear a commotion”
  • Passerby testifies that he told Floyd to get into the police car, says “you can’t win”
  • Defense questions if passerby heard Defendant Lane doing chest compressions on Floyd, passerby admits he didn’t pay attention to everything
  • 911 dispatcher goes through a timeline exhibit of the events that led up to George Floyd’s death
  • 911 dispatcher says she “grew concerned” when she saw the ex-police officers move from the back the squad car to the ground
  • Judge irate that a press conference took place inside the courthouse

DAY 1 – 1 /24/22

 

 

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