Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:12 PM ET, Mon April 12, 2021
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3:48 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Use-of-force expert: It was "not appropriate" to put Floyd in the prone position once he was handcuffed

Law professor Seth Stoughton, a police use-of-force expert, testified that it was not necessary to place George Floyd in the prone position once he was taken out of the back of the police car by the officers.

Stougton said, "it's clear from the number of officers and Mr. Floyd's position and the fact that he's handcuffed and has been searched, he doesn't present a threat of harm." 

He continued:

"His actions don't indicate that he presents any threat of escape. And as he's saying "thank you" for being taken out of the backseat of the car, it would certainly suggest that the point of conflict that had provoked his resistance in the first place is over and suggests a lack of intention. Given the range of other alternatives available to the officers, it's just not appropriate to prone someone who is at that point cooperative." 

Stoughton, who reviewed the evidence in the case and is being paid to testify as an expert witness, said that the prone position can be "useful" for officers trying to handcuff a suspect.

"The prone position is a very useful position in policing for getting control of someone for purposes of handcuffing them. Again, the prone position is just basically face down. Their chest, front of the hips on the ground. When officers are struggling with someone or when they're handcuffing someone they anticipate struggling with, you will often see officers put someone into is that prone position for purposes of handcuffing because it's very difficult for someone to fight or to resist as they're face down on the ground, especially once their arms are out at their sides." 

He added, however, that placing someone in the prone position "is supposed to be transitory" and used for handcuffing. He said that "as soon as someone has been handcuffed, you take them out of that position."

Stoughton's testimony is ongoing.

3:05 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

A criminal and police law professor is now testifying 

Pool
Pool

Seth Stoughton, associate professor from the University of South Carolina school of law, who is also an affiliate professor in the university's department of criminology and criminal justice, is now testifying.

The witness said he studies the regulation of policing.

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, just wrapped his testimony.

3:01 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

George Floyd was a "big mama's boy," his brother says

A photo of Floyd and his mother entered into evidence.
A photo of Floyd and his mother entered into evidence. Pool

George Floyd was a "big mama's boy" who taught his family how to treat their mother with respect, his brother Philonise Floyd testified today.

"He was a big mama's boy," he said. "And being around him, he showed us, like, how to treat our mom, and how to respect our mom. He just — he loved her so dearly."

Philonise Floyd said his mother and brother shared a special bond.

"Every mother loves all her kids. But it was so unique how they were with each other," she said.

He then described the day George Floyd learned their mother had died. He said his brother was talking to their dying mother on the phone, but she passed before he could get to her.

"And when we went to the funeral, it's just — George just sat there at the casket over and over again, he would just say 'mama, mama,' over and over again. And I didn't know what to tell him, because I was in pain, too. We all were hurting. And he was just kissing her, and just kissing her. He didn't want to leave the casket," he told the jury.

Watch here:

3:01 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Philonise Floyd remembers his brother: "He just knew how to make people feel better"

Philonise Floyd described his brother George Floyd's life and what it was like growing up with him during his testimony today.

He recalled that George Floyd was loved by his family and his community.

"He was so much of a leader to us in the household. He would always make sure that we had our clothes for school," Philonise said. "He made sure that we all were going to be to school on time. And like I told you, George couldn't cook. But he will make sure you have a snack or something to get in the morning. But he — he was one of those people in the community that when they had church outside, people would attend church just because he was there. Nobody would go out there until they seen him. And he just was like a person that everybody loved around the community. He — he just knew how to make people feel better."

At one point, Philonise Floyd wiped tears from his face after he was shown a photograph of his brother and his late mother.

"That's my mother. She is no longer with us right now. But that's my oldest brother George. I miss both of them," he said. "...I was married on May 24th I got married. And my brother was killed May 25th. And my mom died on May 30th. So it's like a bittersweet one, because I was supposed to be happen when that month comes."

Watch here:

2:30 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, is now testifying

Pool
Pool

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, has now taken the stand in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.

Minnesota allows prosecutors to invoke the "spark of life" doctrine to call witnesses to testify about a victim's life.

2:38 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Passenger in Floyd's car will not testify in the trial, judge rules

Judge Peter Cahill just ruled that Morries Hall will not testify in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.

Hall is George Floyd's friend and was in the car with him the day he was confronted by police – and ultimately died.

What we know: Both the prosecution and defense had called Hall as a witness in the trial.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson said he planned to ask Hall about his interactions with Floyd that day, their suspected use of a counterfeit bill, whether he gave Floyd drugs and his statements to police about Floyd's behavior in the vehicle.

Hall's attorney, Adrienne Cousins, argued that he planned to use the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination, and she asked the judge to quash his subpoena to testify. Cousins said she was concerned Hall's testimony could be used in a drug or third-degree murder charge against him.

At an April 7 hearing, Cahill said that any questions about potential wrongdoing would not be allowed, yet he said he would be open to allowing specific questions about Floyd's behavior in the vehicle that day.

The judge asked the defense attorney to draft specific questions on that point, which would be discussed at today's hearing.

Today Cahill reviewed those questions and ruled Hall's testimony would not be admissible.

Hall is currently in custody on unrelated charges of domestic abuse, domestic assault by strangulation and the violation of a protective order.

2:27 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Court resumes with judge considering witness testimony

Pool
Pool

The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has resumed.

Judge Peter Cahill is deciding whether George Floyd's friend, Morries Hall, can be called as a witness at the trial.

Hall was in the car with Floyd on May 25, 2020 and could be a critical witness.

1:37 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, expected to testify this afternoon

Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, walks towards a security entrance at the Hennepin County Government Center on April 9, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, walks towards a security entrance at the Hennepin County Government Center on April 9, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brandon Bell/Getty Images/FILE

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, is expected to testify in the Derek Chauvin trial this afternoon. 

A courtroom pool reporter spoke with Philonise Floyd during a break in the trial on Monday. Floyd told the pool reporter he "went to sleep early, like at 8 o'clock and I've been up since 1 o'clock in the morning," when a phone call woke him up and he was not able to fall back to sleep. 

Floyd said he has been crying a lot, but is "not nervous" about testifying after the lunch break and jokingly recalled how there were more cameras when he testified before Congress. Courtroom pool reports noted earlier on Monday that Philonise Floyd's wife, Keeta Floyd, was seen sitting in court. 

Minnesota allows prosecutors to invoke the "spark of life" doctrine to call witnesses to testify about a victim's life.

Floyd also told the pool reporter that this morning he heard about the fatal officer involved shooting of Daunte Wright by Brooklyn Center police Sunday afternoon. 

Court is currently on lunch break. Testimony is expected to resume at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 

1:07 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

The trial is on a lunch break

The trial is on a break for lunch.

It is expected to resume 1:30 p.m. local time.

At 1 p.m., Judge Peter Cahill is expected to rule on whether George Floyd's friend, Morries Hall, can be called as a witness at the trial.

Hall was in the car with Floyd on May 25, 2020 and could be a critical witness.