Floyd's medical examiner is on the stand during officers' trial

ST. PAUL (Minn.) -- Tuesday will see the return of George Floyd's chief medical examiner to the witness stand. He was the one who ruled Floyd's death a homicide.

Floyd's medical examiner is on the stand during officers' trial


Federal prosecutors claim that former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were negligent in their training. They failed to save Floyd's lives when Derek Chauvin, a fellow Officer, knelt down on Floyd's neck for 9 1/2 mins while Floyd was being handcuffed, facedown, and gasping for breath. Kueng placed Floyd on his back while Lane held his legs, and Thao held back the bystanders.

However, defense lawyers have tried to prove that Minneapolis Police Department's training wasn't adequate.

Hennepin County medical inspector Dr. Andrew Baker testified Monday that Floyd died from complications of police "subdual restraint and neck compression". Baker stated that heart disease and drug abuse were contributing factors, but not the main cause.

Media requests court for access to Floyd's trial

After Inspector Katie Blackwell, the former head for training at the Minneapolis Police Department, gave evidence for the third time, Kueng and Thao both testified. She stated that Kueng, Lane, and Thao failed to comply with department policies. This included failing to intervene in order to stop Chauvin, rolling Floyd onto their side when he stopped resisting, and not providing medical assistance when he stopped breathing.

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Floyd fought with officers when they attempted to place him in a vehicle police car and after they placed him on the ground. He said repeatedly that he could not breathe and then went motionless. Protests across the globe erupted after the videotaped murder.

Blackwell stated that officers are instructed that if they handcuff someone with a knee, they must place the person on their side. They also need to call emergency medical services in case their airway is blocked.

Robert Paule, Thao's lawyer, challenged Blackwell to determine if the officers had received sufficient training. He also asked about the use of neck restraints. He also provided department training materials that Thao would have had on how to deal with someone experiencing "exciteddelirium". This is a condition where someone who is in an agitated state can sometimes exhibit extraordinary strength, which could lead to a more severe restraint.

Videos show that people did not resist Tasers, and were sometimes able to escape from police restraint. Officers sometimes used a knee to restrain individuals. The slide contained one sentence that stated officers should place a person in the side recovery posture.

In-custody deaths have been attributed to excited delirium by some medical examiners. This is often when the patient became very agitated following a drug or mental episode. Researchers have stated that there isn't a universally accepted definition.

Earl Gray, Lane's attorney suggested that his client did the right thing. He tried to deescalate the situation and stopped Floyd from moving. Lane tried to revive Floyd in an ambulance that finally arrived.

Blackwell stated that Lane did not do enough to help Floyd while he was in police custody. He checked Floyd's breathing and took action to "physically stop any inappropriate force being used, even though it was unnecessary."

Kueng, who are Black, Lane, a white man, and Thao who are Hmong Americans, were charged with willfully denying Floyd his constitutional rights, while they were acting under the authority of the government. All three officers are charged with one count. They were aware that Floyd required medical attention and failed to provide it. Thao and Kueng are charged with not intervening to stop Chauvin. Both charges allege Floyd's death as a result of the officers' actions.

Prosecutors argue that Floyd, 46, can be deprived of his rights by proving that Floyd's conduct was "blatantly wrong".

Chauvin was convicted in state court of murder and manslaughter last year. He pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges. In June, Lane, Kueng, and Thao will also be facing a separate state trial on charges that they assisted and abetted murder.

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