During the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on Wednesday, Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that Chauvin used his body weight to pin George Floyd’s neck to the ground for more than nine minutes.
Chauvin, 45, is facing murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man who died on May 25, 2020, while being arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. A bystander recorded the arrest, showing Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd is heard repeatedly saying he can’t breathe.
Stiger, a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department and a witness for the prosecution, testified on Tuesday that Chauvin’s use of force was excessive. In Wednesday’s testimony, he said Chauvin was pressing down on Floyd with most of his body weight from the time Floyd was pinned to the ground to when paramedics arrived at the scene.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, asked Stiger if images of the arrest showed that Chauvin’s knee was actually sometimes on Floyd’s shoulder blade area or the base of his neck. Stiger replied that it still looks like Chauvin’s knee was near Floyd’s neck, but Chauvin’s weight could have shifted at times.
Stiger also said that when Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground, Chauvin used a “pain compliance technique” that involves squeezing a suspect’s fingers and manipulating their hands; once the suspect complies with orders, the pain is reduced. Chauvin appeared to keep squeezing, despite Floyd no longer resisting, and “then at that point, it’s just pain,” Stiger said.