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chief's testimony Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin well trained to avoid force, George Floyd murder trial told

Police chief Medaria Arradondo told Mr Chauvin’s trial that officers in his department receive extensive annual training

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Dr Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency room doctor who pronounced George Floyd dead, answers questions on the sixth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (left) yesterday. Sketch: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Dr Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency room doctor who pronounced George Floyd dead, answers questions on the sixth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (left) yesterday. Sketch: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo answers questions on the sixth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (left) for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sketch: REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo answers questions on the sixth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (left) for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sketch: REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

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Dr Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency room doctor who pronounced George Floyd dead, answers questions on the sixth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (left) yesterday. Sketch: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Derek Chauvin, the former police officer on trial for the murder of George Floyd, received extensive training and would have been well-versed in police de-escalation techniques, the Minneapolis Police chief told a courtroom in rare testimony against a former officer.

Police chief Medaria Arradondo told Mr Chauvin’s trial that officers in his department receive extensive annual training, including in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and crisis intervention tactics, regardless of how long they have been in the job.

“Training is absolutely vital and essential to us as a department,” he told the court.

The prosecution’s decision to call the city’s police chief to testify against one of his own former officers is highly unusual.

It will bolster the prosecution’s argument that Mr Chauvin ignored police protocol when he knelt on the neck of Mr Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed black man, for more than nine minutes.

Mr Arradondo (54) fired Mr Chauvin and three other officers involved in the fatal arrest shortly after bystander footage of the incident went viral and sparked a wave of unrest in Minneapolis and other US cities.

“This was a violation of humanity,” he said of the incident at the time.

“This was a violation of the oath that the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on [make].”

Mr Chauvin (45) is on trial charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and third-degree murder.

His lawyer, Eric Nelson, says Mr Chauvin was doing “exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career” and argued that Mr Floyd’s death was caused by drugs and underlying heart problems.

But in critical testimony, Mr Arradondo told jurors that his officers receive extensive training in tactics they can use to diffuse a volatile situation instead of using force.

“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force,” he told the court. He said that the “sanctity of life” was at the core of the department’s use of force policy. Mr Floyd’s younger brother, Terrence (44) was sitting in court during the testimony. He told reporters in the room that he believed the jury had taken note of the de-escalation policy.

Mr Arradondo also undercut another part of the defence’s case – that bystanders who heckled and filmed Mr Chauvin as he knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck distracted him from the 46-year-old’s condition. The police chief said the public has the “absolute” right to record officers as long as it does not obstruct them in the course of their duties.

Earlier in the day, the doctor who pronounced Mr Floyd dead on May 25 told the court, he likely died because of a lack of oxygen, not a heart attack.

Dr Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld added that it is essential to begin CPR for patients who are in cardiac arrest as soon as possible, but he was told this was not performed on Mr Floyd until the paramedics arrived at the scene.

The medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Mr Floyd ruled that he died of cardiopulmonary arrest.

However, the prosecution contend the term can be applied to any death because it simply means a person’s heart and lungs have stopped, and that Mr Chauvin’s actions were a substantial factor in Mr Floyd’s death.

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