LAPD use-of-force expert says Derek Chauvin, used ‘deadly force’ on LATE Floyd

Sergeant Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department, who on Wednesday continued his expert testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin, testified that the force officers used on George Floyd during his arrest was “deadly.”

Stiger, reading from the Minneapolis Police Departmental Policy, defined deadly force as “force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or, which the actor should reasonably know creates a substantial risk of causing death, great bodily harm.”

When asked by prosecutor Steve Schleicher if he had an “opinion to a degree of reasonable, professional certainty” if the force shown in exhibit photos from the restraint period constituted deadly force, Stiger answered “yes.”

When asked what his opinion was, Stiger noted that Floyd was handcuffed and not trying to break free or resist, adding that the pressure on him “could cause death.”

“At the time of the restraint period, Mr. Floyd was not resisting, he was in the prone position, he was handcuffed, he was not attempting to evade, he was not attempting to resist, and the pressure that was being caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxia which could cause death,” Stiger said.

Stiger said that applying body weight pressure during restraint “increases the possibility of death” by positional asphyxia.

“Positional asphyxia can occur even if there is no pressure, no body weight on a subject. Just being in that position, and especially being handcuffed, creates a situation where the person has a difficult time breathing, which could cause death,” Stiger said. “When you add body weight to that, then it just increases the possibility of death.”

When asked what “additional weight” he saw in his analysis, Stiger pointed out Chauvin’s body weight, in addition to the two other officers.

Stiger also testified that Floyd did not pose an “immediate threat” to officers during the restraint period because “he was in the composition, he was handcuffed, he was not attempting to resist, he was not attempting to assault the officers, kick, punch, or anything of that nature.”

He added that in his opinion, “no force should have been used” once Floyd was handcuffed, placed in a prone position and not resisting.

Stiger’s comments come on the eighth day in the trial of Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with three criminal counts in connection with Floyd’s death.

In May 2020, Chauvin was captured on video footage kneeling on Floyd’s neck for approximately nine minutes.

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