Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 2:23 AM ET, Thu April 8, 2021
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1:10 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Use-of-force expert: Floyd's "health was deteriorating" as time went on

LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that former police officer Derek Chauvin had an obligation to take into consideration whether George Floyd was in distress when considering to continue the type of force he was applying.

"As the time went on, clearly in the video you could see that Mr. Floyd's medical — his health was deteriorating," Stiger said.

He continued: "His breath was getting lower and his tone of voice was getting lower and his movements were starting to cease, so as the officer on scene, you have to see that something is not right and something has changed drastically to what was occurring earlier so you have a responsibility to take some type of action."

Watch:

12:47 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Use-of-force expert: Officers are trained they can put their knee on the shoulder blade area of a suspect

Pool
Pool

During cross-examination, LAPD Sergeant Jody Stiger testified that officers are trained that they can put their knee in between the shoulder blades at the base of the neck of a suspect to hold them on the ground.

Asked by defense attorney Eric Nelson if this was standard police practice to his knowledge, Stiger, a use-of-force expert, said yes.

Later in Stiger's testimony, Nelson showed him an image of an officer holding a suspect down, Stiger added, "officers are always cautioned to stay away from the neck as much as possible." 

12:34 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

CNN legal analyst: Prosecution should've objected to defense's question about what Floyd said

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

From left, LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger and defense attorney Eric Nelson.
From left, LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger and defense attorney Eric Nelson. Pool

While cross-examining use-of-force expert LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, defense attorney Eric Nelson showed body camera video of George Floyd. Nelson asked Stiger if he could interpret what Floyd was saying at that time, saying, “Does it sound like he says ‘I ate too many drugs’?” Stiger said he could not make out what Floyd was saying. 

The prosecution should’ve immediately objected to Nelson’s questioning, according to CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates. 

“The idea that you’re going to introduce testimony through the actual attorneys is not what you’re entitled to do,” Coates said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

By including his interpretation of what Floyd was saying, “it lingers,” Coates said. “And again, prosecutors have to be very careful about what lingers,” she said.

“If you’re the jury and that’s out there, on redirect, it’s got to be addressed immediately,” she added. 

Watch:

12:11 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

8 current or former police officers have testified against Chauvin. This expert says it's not rare.

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Eight current or former officers have testified against former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in his trial over George Floyd's death.

While it may seem rare, CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey, a former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, says officers speak against their colleagues "more often than you would think." The difference, he says, is that most of those hearings are not televised.

"This is a televised criminal trial. We don't get many of those just in general," Ramsey explained. "Most testimony occurs in policing during an arbitration hearing. That's when a chief would testify if they fired or suspended an individual, a commander would testify, someone from internal affairs would testify. But that's all behind closed doors. So it happens all the time. But it is just not public when it happens. So this notion that no one ever talks or speaks against another police officer is just simply not true."

He added: "Now, it doesn't happen as often as it should. Granted. There are times when cops see things and they do not report it. There's no questions about that. But I think in terms of testifying, it happens more often than you would think."

12:02 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

The court is in a break

Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger testifies on Wednesday.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger testifies on Wednesday. Pool

The court is now in a 20-minute break.

Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger was being cross-examined by the defense attorney before the court went into recess.

Stiger told the jury that former police officer Derek Chauvin used "deadly force" by holding his knee on the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes in a situation where no force was necessary.

It's his second day on the stand.

12:00 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Use-of-force expert testifies that he did not perceive crowd as a threat

Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert who analyzed the Floyd incident after his death, testified that the crowd gathered at the scene was not a threat.

Stiger was asked by the prosecuting attorney to define a "hostile crowd" based on his own experience as a police officer.

"I would define hostile crowd in the situations I've been in where the crowd or members of the crowd were threatening and/or throwing bottles and rocks at the police," he said. 

Stiger was asked if "name calling" and "foul language" directed at police by the bystanders factored into his analysis of the Floyd incident. He said it did not because "I did not perceive them as being a threat."

He added, "they were merely filming and they were – most of it was their concern for Mr. Floyd." 

Stiger is a paid expert witness for the prosecution. He testified yesterday that he has reviewed more than 2,500 use of force incidents during his career.

Watch:

11:06 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Chauvin used "deadly force" on Floyd, LAPD use-of-force expert says

Pool
Pool

Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin used "deadly force" when he kneeled on George Floyd's neck for a restraint period of 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

Asked why Chauvin's actions constituted deadly force, Stiger said:

"Because he was in the prone position, he was not resisting, he was handcuffed, he was not attempting to evade, he was not attempting to resist. And the pressure that he was –that was being caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxia which could cause death." 

"Is positional asphyxia a known risk in law enforcement?" the prosecutor asked.

"Yes, it is," Stiiger said, adding that the dangers of positional asphyxia have been known for at least 20 years.

"And the risk or the danger of positional asphyxia is the outcome of death?" the prosecution continued. 

"Yes, sir," Stiger confirmed.

10:58 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Use-of-force expert: "No force should have been used" once Floyd was handcuffed and prone on the ground

LAPD Sergeant Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified today that "no force should have been used" by former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin once George Floyd was handcuffed and lying on his stomach on the ground.

Stiger, who is a paid expert witness for the prosecution, was asked by prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher for his opinion to a degree of how much force was reasonable for Chauvin to use on Mr. Floyd after Mr. Floyd was handcuffed, placed in the prone position and not resisting.

"My opinion is that no force should have been used once he was in that position," Stiger said.

10:35 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Use-of-force expert: Chauvin's knee was "pushing down" on Floyd's neck

Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jody Stiger testifies on Wednesday, April 7.
Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jody Stiger testifies on Wednesday, April 7. Pool

Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, is testifying this morning at the Derek Chauvin trial.

While viewing a series of still photos taken from various video feeds from the scene on May 25, 2020, Stiger testified that the majority of Chauvin's weight "would be on his knees" while he was on top of Floyd.

Stiger added that it is his assessment that Chauvin was "pushing down from his knee area from his body." 

Stiger is a paid expert witness for the prosecution. He testified yesterday that he has reviewed more than 2,500 use of force incidents during his career.