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."
"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.