Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Fourth Day of Testimony in Derek Chauvin Trial; Former Shift Supervisor Testifies About Police Use Of Force; Day 4 Of Testimony In Trial Of Ex-Officer Charged In George Floyd's Death. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 1, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, they're having a little break right now to review some that information.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.
Sara Sidner, so update our viewers right now. You're watching all of this. What are we seeing now? Because I assume this trial is about to resume?
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you were seeing a sergeant, former Sergeant of the Minneapolis Police Department who was on duty, the night that George Floyd died. He got a call from a 911 dispatcher. We've heard from that dispatcher in the very first day of testimony. And she testified that she was seeing a camera, a surveillance camera above the scene there at Cub Foods at 38 in Chicago, and she was watching the officers and she noticed that they were on George Floyd for so long. And at the time, of course, she didn't know his name was George Ford. But they were on a subject for so long. She thought there was something wrong with the cameras. And then she realized that they were still on the subjects. So, she called a supervisor. This is that supervisor, she calls him, she says, I don't know. I might be a snitch here. You can call me that if you want. But it does seem like there might be a use of force issue going on right now, which apparently, they're supposed to call about because she then says to him, they haven't called me about it. And the supervisor goes, well, if it's just to take down, maybe they shouldn't, but I will call. He ends up calling, Derek Chauvin, then officer Derek Chauvin picks up the phone and says, oh, I was just about to call you.
And then Chauvin goes on to try for the first time was hearing this again, to explain what happened from his perspective. We have never heard this audio before the world has not heard it. The jury has not heard it. The attorneys, of course, have looked at it. But this is new to us. And I'm going to try to quote for you what he said. He said, we just had to hold a guy down. He went crazy. He wouldn't go back in the back of the squad. And then it cuts off.
So, we're listening to this sergeant who was called alerted by the 911 dispatcher, what he then did, he learns that things have gone terribly wrong with this subject, as they're calling it throughout. That subject, by the way is George Floyd and we all know what happened to him. Do you like -- would you like me, Wolf, to explain what happened a bit earlier today? Because there was really emotional testimony at the very start of the trial today.
BLITZER: It was very emotional, very powerful. Yes, update our viewers what happened?
SIDNER: Sure. So, we heard from George Floyd's girlfriend, and before she even started testifying, she started to cry. She was sniffling as she walked up. She spoke to the judge. They were very kind to one another. She sat down and had a very difficult time sort of pulling herself together. But she did. And she started talking about the life the two of them had, she talked about the fact that they had been together for almost three years that they sometimes they had taken a break on and off relationship a little bit, but they had been back together in the last couple of months before he died. And the one thing that she talked about was something that America has struggled with. It's the opioid epidemic. She says that she and George Floyd both had problems with addiction with opioid pills in particular, and that she said that they were getting those pills at the start from other people who had prescriptions. In other words, they wanted to make sure they were safe. So they were getting opioids like oxycodone from other people who had already had prescriptions, so they knew they were prescription drugs.
But later on, there was some question about the drugs that that Floyd started taking. She said, she herself said that they both tried very, very hard to stop. But they relapsed. And at one point in March, it turns out that George Floyd overdosed, ended up in the hospital, according to his girlfriend, she was there with him, trying to help care for him as he struggled with medical issues from an overdose. Now, the reason why this is significant is because --
BLITZER: All right, hold on for a moment Sara. Sara, hold on, we're going to get back to you. It looks like this trial is resuming.
STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: -- typically visit the scene, is that right?
SGT. DAVID PLEOGER (RET), MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes.
SCHLEICHER: Interview witnesses, correct?
SCHLEICHER: Gather all the information, body worn cameras, correct?
SCHLEICHER: And review that footage, correct?
SCHLEICHER: And make a preliminary determination as to whether or not it would be necessary to forward this for a review by internal affairs, is that right? PLEOGER: Yes.
SCHLEICHER: And if you review somebody worn camera footage and find there's nothing to review, you wouldn't forward that to internal affairs?
PLEOGER: If I was doing the force report I believe it would go down there anyway.
SCHLEICHER: Oh, force reports do would sit, would also go internal affairs?
SCHLEICHER: If you review body worn camera footage and determine that use of force might have been excessive, do you make a recommendation to internal affairs?
PLEOGER: Yes, in that case you'd have to contact internal affairs.
SCHLEICHER: I submit the foundation Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
BLITZER: All right, they're doing another, what they call a sidebar and reviewing some information with the judge to make a decision they presumably will continue in the next minute or two and we'll resume our special coverage of course. But let's go back to Sara Sidner as we're watching all of this unfold.
Sara, this is what day four of this trial, right?
BLITZER: It looks like they're resuming right now, so let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we'll have you back fairly soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right we're outside of the hearing, the jury, be seated, please.
Mr. Nelson has asked for an opportunity to volunteer the witness for a possible objection outside the hearing of the jury. Mr. Nelson.
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: Good afternoon Sergeant Pleoger. So, in the normal course of your duties as a police sergeant in reviewing the use of force, what you're describing is what you would normally do, correct?
NELSON: So if a use of force is reported to you by an officer in those circumstances, this use of force review occurs by the shift supervisor, correct? PLEOGER: Yes.
NELSON: And the shift supervisor would first and foremost report to the scene, correct?
NELSON: After that point you would interview the officers that were involved, correct?
NELSON: You may interview the person upon whom force was used, right?
NELSON: You may interview witnesses to the use of force if they excess, correct?
NELSON: You may review body worn cameras, other evidence, photographs, whatever else may be a part of that process, right?
NELSON: And it is much greater in -- it's a limited but it's a bigger scope, right?
NELSON: When a critical -- when a use of force incident becomes a critical incident, however, does your role change?
PLEOGER: I would no longer do a use of force in a critical incident nor would I do it if someone had suffered an injury if they were handcuffed that goes up the chain and then to tentative and internal affairs.
NELSON: OK. So in certain circumstances you would not be required to do that, right?
NELSON: And also in addition, Your Honor -- or Sergeant Pleoger, I apologize, you did not do any of that use of force report review -- use of force review on May 25 of 2020, did you?
NELSON: You didn't speak with the officers in depth about what happened, correct?
NELSON: You didn't interview any of the witnesses that were at the scene, did you?
NELSON: And you didn't review the body worn cameras that night, did you?
NELSON: In preparation for your testimony were you given the entirety of the case file for this case?
NELSON: I mean do you have 50,000 pages of police reports?
NELSON: Have you reviewed any of the interviews from any of the witnesses?
NELSON: Have you reviewed any of the statements that were given relevant to this case by any of the involved officers from those who did give statements?
NELSON: All right, so in this case, in preparation, were you allowed to watch the entirety of all of the body worn cameras?
PLEOGER: I think I did.
NELSON: OK. And that was in preparation or while you were being interviewed with the state prosecutors, right?
NELSON: OK, so in terms of the information you have, you have a limited amount of information which would be limited to just a review of the body worn cameras?
NELSON: And that would not be the normal course for a sergeant use of force review?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm still not clear as to who made the decision in this case. So, Mr. Schleicher, I don't have very much of a foundation for who gave this opinion or gave an opinion in this case. Could you follow up with?
SCHLEICHER: I'm sorry, right. I had a hard time hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think I have foundation yet. Sounds like a critical incident, it gets passed up. Who made? I don't know who made the decision on use of force?
SCHLEICHER: Well, there wasn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you maybe inquire, see where?
SCHLEICHER: I can, Your Honor. I want to just clean up one part of the record first, in terms of reviewing the body worn camera footage with the state. I think the question was state prosecutors. You didn't review them with the state prosecutors, but you have reviewed those with prosecutors. Is that correct?
SCHLEICHER: Right. Other prosecutors not associated with this particular case.
SCHLEICHER: Is that right?
SCHLEICHER: Now, in -- to answer the court's question in terms of whether or not you did a use of force review pursuant to the police, in this particular case, you did not, correct?
SCHLEICHER: Right. You passed the scene along and follow the critical incident policy, you know, per the critical incident guidelines. Is that right?
SCHLEICHER: However, in the course of your duties as a shift Sergeant, you do force reviews, is that right?
SCHLEICHER: You follow the policy and conducting supervisory force reviews?
SCHLEICHER: And if we could pull up the exhibit, again, 222. Can you go to the next page, please. In conducting a force review, if you could please call out, Roman I. You conduct the -- contact the internal affairs unit commander by phone if the force used appears to be unreasonable, or constitute possible misconduct, is that right?
SCHLEICHER: So you make a threshold assessment of whether or not force is excessive or could constitute possible misconduct, true?
SCHLEICHER: And if you can go to the next page. Call out B, and again, based on the totality of information available at the time, if you as a supervisor feel that the use of force may have been unreasonable or not within policy, you can state so in your supervisory force review, is that right?
SCHLEICHER: And that's the policy that you follow?
SCHLEICHER: So, Your Honor, I don't believe that this is a lack of foundation. He has clearly qualified to give an opinion and a limited opinion that based on his preliminary review, as stated and disclose. He believed that the restraint should have ended very shortly after Mr. Floyd was taken on the ground, handcuffed and no longer resistant. That's the sum and substance of the opinion I attempt to offer.
NELSON: In this particular case, the reason you called the lieutenant was because Mr. Floyd died, right?
PLEOGER: I would have called the lieutenant first because force was used when he was in handcuffs, any force that results or that's used when somebody in handcuffs requires me to call the lieutenant and internal affairs.
NELSON: Right. So that went up the chain naturally that way, and then when Mr. Floyd died, this use of force policy is replaced with a critical incident policy.
NELSON: So, Your Honor, I guess the issue here is this is exactly what the motions eliminate were designed to effectuate. This officer, Sergeant Pleoger did not make this determination. He has not done a use of force review, as he would have done in this policy. He has not reviewed the entirety of the evidence of this particular case. And while he may have seen certain body camera footage and made some determination based on that limited information, he hasn't seen everything else. And so, it's -- it is not within his purview. This is what the motion in limine I was specifically designed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Schleicher, as I understood that you're asking him narrower opinion?
SCHLEICHER: That's correct, Your Honor. I'm asking, you know, exactly what I proffered that, in his opinion, the force should have ended very shortly after Mr. Floyd was on the ground, handcuffed in the prone position and the longer resistance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can ask that one question. Let's bring the jury back.
This is probably going to be our last witness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could get them done in a half hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We'll see how it goes.
BLITZER: All right, the jury is being brought back into this trial. They were removed as they debated a sidebar issue and we're going to watch what this unfolds. There's one more question we're told, that will be asked that to this witness, Sergeant David Pleoger. Bakari Sellers is with us. He's a lawyer. So explain, Bakari, what's going on right now. This is a very sensitive moment.
BAKARI SELLERS, ATTORNEY, STROM LAW: Yes, when you have matters of law, usually an attorney can stand up and make an objection based upon a matter of law, the jury will go out. And what you saw there was the prosecution and the defense going back and forth over a report that the defense was -- that the prosecution, excuse me was trying to get in. What we saw, though, was that the person who was testifying the defense was making the argument since he was not there. He did not compile the report. He could not give his opinion, based on that report. And you saw the judgment that it could be a very, very narrow question asked.
BLITZER: All right, hold your thoughts. Let's resume that coverage of the trial.
SCHLEICHER: Thank you. I have no further questions, Your Honor.
NELSON: Good afternoon, Sergeant Pleoger.
PLEOGER: Good afternoon, sir.
PLEOGER: Thank you for being with us today. A few questions that I had to follow up on with you, when a police officer under your command uses force, are they required to immediately notify you?
PLEOGER: It depends on the type of force.
NELSON: OK. Are there certain circumstances where you may get a phone call or a radio dispatch immediately?
PLEOGER: Yes. NELSON: Are there certain circumstances or situations where you may get a phone call or record of the use of force within 10 to 15 minutes?
NELSON: Are there circumstances where you may get a use of force report or from an officer from an hour or two later?
PLEOGER: Not one that would cause me to have to go to the scene that would be more immediate, they'd want to let me know right away because they need to get out there and interview the subject.
NELSON: Right. But it could happen within more than, say, 10, 15, 20 minutes that you get that notification?
NELSON: It would be fair to say that in certain types of use of force, there may be other or use of force cases, there may be other activities that the officer needs to do after the use of force. Would you agree with that?
NELSON: So, they may use force against suspect number one, but then they have to apprehend suspect number two, for example, right?
NELSON: And they've used force on number one, but they get number two detained, and it takes some time, then they call you, right?
NELSON: Or, for example, an officer may use force on someone, conduct some additional investigation, whether it be interviewing witnesses or gathering evidence, and then call you to report the use of force, right?
NELSON: Is there a policy within the Minneapolis Police Department that requires an officer who uses force to do that through dispatch channels?
NELSON: They could call you on your cell phone?
NELSON: They could send you a text.
NELSON: Basically, their requirement is that they need to reach out to you and say, hey, we need you to come to the scene, right?
NELSON: Use force. Now, that's the second. Showing you exhibit 221. Policy 5-306 regarding medical assistance, what do the first four words after medical assistance read?
PLEOGER: As soon as reasonably.
NELSON: Practical, right? That's before. So you got me, as soon as reasonably practical, right?
NELSON: They -- an officer has to use or render medical assistance as soon as is reasonably practical, correct?
NELSON: Now, are you familiar generally with the Minneapolis Police Department's critical decision-making model?
NELSON: Essentially, when a police officer is engaged in a situation? Would you agree that an officer is constantly taking in new information, processing that information, comparing it to what happened before and making decisions based on information as it comes in?
NELSON: And information as an officer is dealing with a situation can change, right?
PLEOGER: Yes. And that information that they take in may change or modify the behavior in response to the situation, right?
NELSON: So for example, sometimes an officer may decide to use a teaser or a conducted electricity unit, right? But then realize, no, that's not enough. I better get my gun out, based on the threat that person may perceive, right?
NELSON: Or vice versa, they may have their gun drawn, realize that's too much force, put it away and take out a different tool that they have, right?
NELSON: So officers are constantly assessing and reassessing a situation based upon the information as it comes to them, agreed.
PLEOGER: Yes, you've been -- you were an officer for like, 27 years, I think you said. You've -- I'm assuming arrested hundreds, if not 1000s of individuals during your career?
NELSON: You've had to use force yourself?
NELSON: And would you agree with the general premise that the use of force is not necessarily attractive?
NELSON: Sometimes officers have to do very violent fence, agreed?
NELSON: It's a dangerous job.
NELSON: Have you ever heard the term hold for EMS? An officer says, I held them for EMS.
PLEOGER: I'm not familiar with it.
NELSON: OK. So if you are involved in a use of force situation, and an officer calls for medics, right, is an - and I'm going to strike, that an officer decides to use the maximal restraint or the hobble, right? But they've sought a medical emergency arises and they call for EMS. Would it be consistent with the critical decision making policy to say I'm not going to hobble this person because I know EMS is on the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rejection your (inaudible).
BLITZER: All right, while they're in this sidebar, let's go back to Bakari Sellers to explain what's going on. Bakari, another apparent legal dispute between the prosecution and the defense?
SELLERS: Yeah, you know, the prosecution is doing its yeoman's work here with this report, attempting to show I mean, and that's what we're seeing when you go through this report, you're attempting to show what should have been done. The fact that the knee should have been coming off the neck that they should have allowed George Floyd to be detained but to get up they should have been this usage of force should have stopped at that time.
And what you're seeing is the defense is now going back and attempting to pick apart that report. This report is very important, because this is an expert opinion, saying how the police should have behaved and what the report says that Derek Chauvin's behavior was inappropriate under the circumstances, and that the use of force should have stopped. And so you're seeing this back and forth and many times is back and forth is done outside of the jury, of the jury's purview. And I think they're going right back now.
BLITZER: Yeah. Let's listen in.
NELSON: -- was engaged in a struggle with a suspect and decided to use the maximal restraint technique. But then the suspect had a medical emergency, would it be common for the officer to decide, I'm not going to use the maximal restraint technique at this point, I'm going to hold this suspect in place until EMS get here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, calls for speculation.
PLEOGER: So your scenarios and officers planning to use the hobble and hasn't caught on yet and then the suspect has a medical emergency and then they decide not to use them, just hold them?
NELSON: When a maximal restraint technique is applied, the suspect is essentially handcuffed behind their back. And through a series of belts, their legs are bent a kind of an upward angle, and then connected to some sort of device right around the waist?
PLEOGER: I don't think they bend back towards the back anymore. They like to keep them straight.
NELSON: But there's a tie between the ankles and the waist essentially?
NELSON: Right. And if EMS is on their way, the restraint, you've got to take that off and can delay medical care, agreed?
PLEOGER: You're saying taking, take the - I'm sorry, would you repeat that?
NELSON: If an officer uses the maximal restraint technique, and EMS has to come, the officers have to remove that potentially, right?
NELSON: And that can delay medical treatment.
NELSON: Now, again, in your 27 years as a police officer, have you had to deal with crowds of people that farm and watch your activity?
NELSON: In your experience as a police officer, especially in the more recent era, have you been in a situation where bystanders begin to film you and your activities?
NELSON: Does that happen more and more these days than it did five years ago?
NELSON: And have you been in a situation in your career as a law enforcement officer where the crowd starts to yell at you?
NELSON: Or becomes a little more volatile?
NELSON: As an officer, does that caused you concern?
NELSON: Generally speaking, as, again, an officer with 27 years of experience, if you're dealing with one potential suspect, and then a new perceived threat emerges, but you know, that person needs medical attention, do you deal with the medical attention and ignore the threat? Or do you deal with the threat and then deal with the medical attention?
PLEOGER: I guess you'd have to deal with both kind of simultaneously.
NELSON: And that depends on the circumstances, would you agree with that?
NELSON: So for example, if you were in a gun battle, and someone was shooting at you, and someone had a -- went into cardiac arrest, would you stop what you were doing to mitigate the threat or -- in order to immediately perform CPR? Or you continue with the threat?
PLEOGER: I mitigate that threat to me.
NELSON: You've been -- you've gone through all of the standard training of Minneapolis Police Department?
NELSON: You had to deal with suspects who have been rendered unconscious?
PLEOGER: Occasionally. NELSON: You're aware that the Minneapolis Police Department were the training indicates that need to be careful because when someone comes back out of unconsciousness, they can become more volatile than they were before?
PLEOGER: That can happen. Yes.
NELSON: You were asked a series of questions about what -- about the sergeant's use of force reveal.
NELSON: A force review?
NELSON: And in a force review, there are certain things that you're required to do, correct?
NELSON: That would include, having a conversation with the involved officer, right?
NELSON: That would involve potentially having a conversation with the suspect upon whom force was used, agreed?
NELSON: Review of the body worn cameras, right?
NELSON: Review of any other evidence that may exist such as witness statements, photographs, phone records, whatever it may consist of, right?
NELSON: It's not a huge, very thorough investigation, it's kind of a cursory look, right?
NELSON: And -- but there's more to it than simply watching a body worn camera, right?
NELSON: In this particular case, when you arrived on scene, you initially spoke with Officers King and Lane, and Mr. Chauvin was present in that scene. PLEOGER: Yes.
NELSON: And he was listening as Officer King and Lane told you what just happened?
NELSON: Now when in your experience as a police officer, when a supervisor's use of force -- strike that -- when one group of officers goes to a scene and a second shows up to assist, whose arrest is that? Is it the original officer or the assisting officers?
PLEOGER: Should be the original officer.
NELSON: And so, when you're reviewing us a circumstance, is it going to be -- would it be your policy to talk to the arresting officers or the assisting officers first, to find out what happened?
PLEOGER: I guess I wouldn't care one way or the other, whoever wants to tell me the story.
NELSON: OK. And if one officer is responsible for it, you're going to go to that officer, right?
NELSON: And there's two officers, you're going to ask them both?
NELSON: And if all of the officers are standing around, and they're talking about it, that's what you need to do initially, right?
NELSON: Now, you were discussing again, in this particular incident, you were at -- when you arrived on scene, you asked -- you kind of gave some direction to these officers, right?
NELSON: And at the point that you arrived on scene, you knew it was a use of force incident but it was not what you call a critical incident, agreed.
NELSON: Because at that point, Mr. Floyd, to the best of your knowledge, was still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) if you know what the answer to that is.
PLEOGER: One more time, sir.
NELSON: At the point that you were initially on scene, you had no information that Mr. Floyd was deceased, right?
NELSON: Now, you then instructed the officers to do a few things, right? Potentially talked to witnesses, and then two officers to go down to the hospital with --
NELSON: -- in their squad car.
NELSON: All right. And that's we saw this video where you instructed officer Chauvin to try to get some witness statements, things of that nature, right?
NELSON: And he had -- he made the comment that he would try, but the crowd seemed pretty hostile.
NELSON: Officer Chauvin and Officer Thao ended up at the hospital with you?
PLEOGER: They did.
NELSON: And Officer King and Officer Lane remained on scene, right?
PLEOGER: Yes, sir.
NELSON: At some point when you learned that Mr. Floyd had died, the use of force was no -- the use of force review was no longer reviewed by you, correct?
NELSON: Someone died -- well, and I believe even per policy, if someone was a use of force occurred while someone was in handcuffs, that policy required you to reach out to your superiors, right?
PLEOGER: That's correct.
NELSON: And if Mr. Floyd had not died, you would have not conducted a use of force review, correct?
NELSON: You would have left it to the higher ups, the people up the chain of command.
PLEOGER: Right, since he sustained an injury and handcuffs.
NELSON: Right. And, likewise, when a suspect dies in police custody, you don't do a use of force review.
NELSON: And you did not do a use of force review in this case, did you?
NELSON: You talked about when it became a critical incident, the officers ended up at room 100 down at City Hall. I think you initially said it was a courthouse but you're talking about City Hall across the street.
PLEOGER: Yes, I said around (ph).
NELSON: And that's a room that's maintained by the Minneapolis police administration, right?
NELSON: That's where any involved officers go during a critical incident.
NELSON: Officers who are involved or potentially witnesses to a critical incident.
NELSON: And you understand that the four involved officers were each individually transported to room 100, right?
PLEOGER: I believe that was the case.
NELSON: And you referenced that at that point, kind of the critical incident policy takes over and certain things have to happen pursuant to the critical incident policy, right?
NELSON: A whole host of things have to happen, right?
NELSON: You referenced interviews of officers, you have no idea if the interviews of officers occurred in room 100 on or about May 25th, 2020, or may 26 of 2020.
PLEOGER: I'm not positive, no.
NELSON: All right. That's one thing that could potentially happen, right?
NELSON: But not necessarily.
NELSON: Now, you testified that kind of at the end of the night, Officer Lane -- or while -- end of your involvement, Officer Lane handed you a couple of pieces of evidence that pertained to the arrest back at 38th in Chicago, right?
NELSON: Or the incident at 38th in Chicago, right?
NELSON: Do you recall what those items were?
PLEOGER: I recall one for sure was a slip of paper with a name for one of the parties in the vehicle that he got.
NELSON: OK. Was the -- do you recall the other being an identification card?
PLEOGER: I think so.
NELSON: And do you remember the name of the person that was on the slip of paper?
PLEOGER: I don't.
NELSON: Would it refresh your recollection to review your report that you drafted that night?
NELSON: May I approach the witness, Your Honor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
NELSON: (INAUDIBLE). Does that refresh your recollection?
NELSON: What was the name on a piece of paper? Shawanda Hill?
PLEOGER: Shawanda Hill.
NELSON: And the other item that he handed you was an Minnesota identification card, correct?
NELSON: With the name of William Smive (ph)?
PLEOGER: Yes. NELSON: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), please.
STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Thank you, Your Honor. Sir, you were asked whether you agree with the proposition that sometimes police officers have to do violent things and you agree with that, correct?
SCHLEICHER: But sometimes police officers should not do violent things, isn't that right?
SCHLEICHER: You were asked about the critical thinking of model that's used and adopted by the Minneapolis Police Department, correct?
SCHLEICHER: And that's a model that requires officers to continually taking information evaluated, reevaluated, reassess, and if necessary, adjust their conduct, correct?
SCHLEICHER: And as you stated under questioning by defense counsel, sometimes the information they're taking in would cause the officer to need to take more drastic measures, fair?
SCHLEICHER: But sometimes the information that the officer would take in would cause them to need to reevaluate what they're doing and use less drastic measures, correct?
SCHLEICHER: Some of the information that might be relevant is whether or not this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
SCHLEICHER: -- whether or not the subject is resisting, correct?
PLEOGER: Could you say that one more.
SCHLEICHER: One of the pieces of the information the officer may need to take in and evaluate as whether the subject is resisting, correct?
SCHLEICHER: And if the subject is not resisting, there is no longer a need to continue to restrain them, correct?
SCHLEICHER: And other information that might be helpful in making an assessment is to determine whether or not the subject is continuing to breathe, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is getting (INAUDIBLE) at this point. Mr. Schleicher, if you would rephrase.
SCHLEICHER: Would it be important for an --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Response is stricken (ph).
SCHLEICHER: Would it be reasonable then in the critical thinking model for an officer to determine and take in information about the subject's medical condition?
SCHLEICHER: For example, if the subject is no longer breathing, would it be important for the officer to take that into account to reassess and reevaluate what they're doing?
SCHLEICHER: Or if the subject no longer has a pulse, for example, would that be important information in the critical thinking model for the officer to take in, consider and decided to maybe take a different step?
SCHLEICHER: And in such a case, would it be possible then that the officer would not to do -- need to do something violent, but would need to do something less violent?
SCHLEICHER: Like render medical assistance?
SCHLEICHER: You were asked about threat assessment, is that right?
SCHLEICHER: And you were asked about an example of whether an officer would perceive a threat if there was a gun battle and need to make a determination between medical attention and that kind of extreme threat, right?
SCHLEICHER: You reviewed the body worn cameras, correct?
PLEOGER: I've reviewed -- yes, I've reviewed body worn camera footage.
SCHLEICHER: You didn't see a gun battle?
SCHLEICHER: Nothing further.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
NELSON: So the critical decision making model requires the officers to take in multiple pieces of information and decide what -- how to act based on the circumstances, right?
NELSON: Other factors they may consider is the size of a crowd, right?
NELSON: Their tactical position?
NELSON: Rendering medical aid to a person in the middle of a busy street or buses and cars are turning that may not be the best decision for an officer to make.
NELSON: Rendering medical aid or trying to -- while trying to deal with other people who are upset with you or volatile towards you may come into to play, agreed?
NELSON: An officer who is essentially in a tactical disadvantage, that will come into play?
NELSON: Officers have to look at lots of different bits of information and decide how to proceed based on the totality of the circumstances and not just one single fact, agreed?
NELSON: No further questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing further?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quickly (ph).
SCHLEICHER: And an officer needs to consider whether other sources of information might be relevant to the need to render medical aid, correct?
SCHLEICHER: Including people telling the officer that a person was in need of medical assistance, that might be important for them to consider.
SCHLEICHER: And if somebody is communicating this in a desperate fashion that doesn't necessarily constitute a threat to the officer, does it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sustain.
SCHLEICHER: I have nothing further, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you, sir. You may step down.
PLEOGER: Thank you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And members of the jury, we're going to adjourn for the day. We'll try and start up again around 9:15 tomorrow. We'll see you then.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. We've been following the Derek Chauvin murder trial where testimony, as you just heard, just wrapped up after another very, very dramatic day in court. Some truly extraordinary new developments unfolding. Just now we heard from a shift supervisor who testified about Officer Chauvin's use of force. We also heard gut-wrenching testimony from the first paramedics on the scene as they described coming across George Floyd's lifeless unresponsive body.
And in a move to preempt Chauvin's defense team from blaming Floyd's drug use for his death as we discussed with our Correspondent Sara Sidner. The prosecution called on Floyd's girlfriend of some three years to give very emotional tearful testimony about their mutual struggle with opioid addiction.
Let's check in with our Senior National Correspondent Sarah Sidner, she's covering the Chauvin trial for us in Minneapolis. So update our viewers especially those who are just tuning in right now, Sara, on the very latest because what we just saw in the last few minutes was very powerful.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are getting to the real meat of the policy -- use of force policy at this department. This could really be the crux of the case. All of the emotion that you've heard from the witnesses is going to matter greatly but this is the most technical stuff that the jury will be taking notes on and really drilling down on because if they determine that he indeed went far beyond what the policy says, and I'm talking about former Officer Derek Chauvin here, if the jury determines that he overstepped his bounds, went far beyond what the use of force policy is, that is going to be a major problem for him. Because what it tells you is and what you're hearing from this Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger, he is a former surgeon but he was there that day. So he's getting phone calls and he's talking to Chauvin and then he's going to the scene.
And if he says, look, the officer has to at any given time, assess the situation, you heard him say, yes, he has to assess the situation. Not just once, not just twice but throughout the whole time that they are trying to detain or arrest someone or having any kind of contact with someone. And so, in this instance, he has asked over and over again, OK, so if the person is resisting, then you do one thing. Yes, if the person is not resisting, then you change your behavior, you reassess. And if the person stops breathing, you must reassess again, correct? And his answer was, correct.
These are really short answers but they are extremely important because hearing a sergeant say that the knee should have been removed from his neck when he stopped moving or resisting, that is a powerful moment no matter how short the testimony coming out of the mouth of that former sergeant who was there that day, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. Stand by, I want to bring Bakari back into this analysis. How revealing, Bakari, was this testimony from this retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger, particularly what he says about how Derek Chauvin characterize this entire incident.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So I agree with Sara that this is the meat and potatoes we've gotten to the crux of the case. In fact, the defense actually laid out their entire argument. You heard how he was saying you should behave in this moment or that moment answering was very short yeses, when you're doing your assessment. But what stood out to me the most was when the defense was able to ask him if you see a crowd or if you have individuals who are posing some threat or he went down this list of scenarios he said would your assessment change. He said, if someone was unconscious, would you render aid or would you control the crowd or would you do both? And he said, you would do both.
And so he went down this list of things attempting to paint the picture of what Derek Chauvin saw that day. Now for many of us, we were sitting here January 6th and we saw what a rabbit crowd looks like, right? We saw what individuals who look forceful threatening look like. And when we look at those body camera images, it doesn't look like that was a threatening crowd the way the defense was trying to make it out to be. However, if one or two jurors by that line of questioning, then today's witness will be that much more important because what he's attempting to say is that Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the neck regardless of his physical condition because he was trying to not only subdue a detainee but he was also trying to be mindful of the crowd. And he had to do both.
You heard him say could you render aid with in a street or could you render aid in a major thoroughfare? I mean, the question is, why did you not move Mr. Floyd off the street, et cetera. That was a concern. But you heard him trying to build in these excuses. And the defense laid out all of their cards. I mean, to Sara's point, though, I agree with her, like many people watching this, it's very difficult for me to buy into that argument. However, you at least see what their argument is.
BLITZER: You see what the prosecution is arguing, what the defense is arguing. Ayesha Bell Hardaway is with us, assistant professor of law at Case Western University in Cleveland. So what do you make, Ayesha, of those interactions that we just saw described between Chauvin and that retired police supervisor, the supervisor saying that Chauvin didn't mention putting his knee on Floyd's neck, for example?
AYESHA BELL HARDAWAY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY: Yes, I think -- thank you, thank you so much for having me. I think it falls nicely in what we -- into what we know happened on May 25th, right? And that is that this police report that the details of this incident were written in a way that's very, very different than what we know now happened. And so, the fact that Chauvin left this out when talking to his line supervisor, shouldn't come as any surprise because we know the documentation that first was produced, left out many details, and in fact, paint Mr. Floyd quite differently than how he presented on that day.
BLITZER: You know, and Ayesha, we did hear that audio tape of the former police Officer Chauvin saying that George Floyd was, quote, going crazy. Was that an attempt to bolster his own version of events or potentially a dog whistle, if you will?
HARDAWAY: Well, I think it's both. I think it's both to be clear. Obviously, you know, you want to be able to make the point that the use of force is justified. And so, even in this day and age, knowing that there were cameras all around him in people's hands on street poles, inside stores, and even on his body or on his partner's body, he decided that he was going to give a verbal statement that contradicted that video evidence. And then in many ways, right, I think we know that the history of racism in America and the way that that works in our criminal legal system works to the benefit of an individual who's able to use that dog whistle. And so I think I think it's both and in some respects, as Bakari said earlier, if there's just one juror who hears that and it resonates with them, then he has what he needs.
BLITZER: Captain Ron Johnson is joining us as well, formerly with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Captain Johnson, the Minneapolis police sergeant who testified that the restraint by an officer should stop when the person is handcuff, no longer resisting. Clearly that happened, right?
RON JOHNSON, FORMER CAPTAIN, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: Clearly that happened and the sergeant's testimony was really strong. I know there's been some talk about how short his answers were. Because I think his answers were short, because the policies and procedures of that department were clear. And that's basically what he was stating there. But they were clear what should have happened here in that circumstance.
And when the attorney talked about the gun battle, would you give aid in a gun battle? Well, if you're in a gun battle, you're not going to have your hand in your pocket. And I think as Sara had said, you do both. You make sure that you render aid and you can do both.
BLITZER: Clearly, it didn't stop when George Floyd was on the ground. He wasn't resisting. He was just lying there. Yet the effort by Chauvin to continue with the knee on his neck, that continued for several more minutes, right, Captain Johnson?
JOHNSON: Yes, there were many opportunities to render aid. You saw that there was no movement for Mr. Floyd, no movement at all. And you also know that they talked about training, that if you keep someone on their stomach for a long period of time, inhibits their breathing. And yesterday, we heard one of the officers say, hey, we need to turn them over on his side. And so in their training, they were told that if someone starts complaining to breathe, they know things, this may be an issue. So they're training and they had heard that. And what Mr. Floyd was exhibiting and what he was saying, what in mind what they heard in their training that they would see.
BLITZER: You know, Bakari, earlier in the testimony from this paramedic, who was on the scene, he described arriving there on the scene on that day, and he said, quote, and I'm quoting him now, in lay terms, I thought he was dead. So what stands out to you from today's testimony, highlighting the medical response?
SELLERS: I think that that was extremely powerful. I think that was probably the strongest moment or one of the strongest moments that the prosecution has had thus far.
You had someone who was literally not just dying but dead and there were other professionals on par with Derek Chauvin and I think that's one of the most important things when you're talking about a juror. This isn't some layman, this is a professional who's on par with Derek Chauvin who was able to acknowledge the lack of humanity, who was able to acknowledge the lack of compassion and say you are treating this man so poorly that he is now dead. I believe him to be dead or dying. And so it was a very, very powerful moment.
And I think that the prosecution is doing a good job throughout this. I mean, the defense has some flair, some flairs (ph) of have moments where you can at least understand their line of thought even if it is absurd to some of us. However, the prosecution is still sticking to the themes that they laid out in their opening argument which is so important. They keep going back to the lack of compassion, the lack of humanity and the fact that he did not follow his own standard practices and procedures.
And I think that this all ties in very well because if you see someone who is not moving, who was not breathing then there is nothing left for you to do but to render aid at least to get your knee off his neck. Jeez, I mean, praise God. Get your knee off his neck and he did not even do that.
SELLERS: And I think that is where the lack of humanity is going to resonate with a lot of jurors, but again this is still a long way to go, Wolf.
BLITZER: And you know, Sara, the -- that paramedic also testified it was a very powerful moment when the paramedic said any lay person can do chest compressions to try to get somebody to stay alive. And there was, quote, in his words, no reason the Minneapolis police couldn't have at least started those kinds of chest compressions. Did Officer Chauvin fail to -- in his duty, to provide that kind of emergency care to save the life of this individual?
SIDNER: If you listen to what the paramedics and the EMT and his sergeant said, the answer that is really clear I think to the jury. The answer to that is yes. If everyone around him was telling him with the exception of the other officers who were with him, if everyone else around him including other professionals, including paramedics, say, the guy appears to be dead and you are still kneeling on him while the paramedics are there, you have a problem.
And I do want to mention this though. One thing that the jury cannot know because the judge said it was something that the jury cannot know is that these four officers within 48 hours were fired because of what they did that day, they broke policy according to the police department. The jury will not know that when they deliberate in this case.
BLITZER: So why they're being prosecuted right now. Everybody stick around, we're going to continue our special coverage on this trial, this important trial in Minneapolis much more right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. We're following all the key testimony of the murder trial of former Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
Court just ended for the day after a former police supervisor testified that Chauvin restrain George Floyd for too long. Jurors also heard an audio recording of Chauvin describing his arrest of Floyd soon after it happened, claiming Floyd was quote, going crazy.