Arradondo's testimony in the Chauvin trial Monday, April 5, provided insight into both city police department policies and his own views on Floyd's death.
In one striking exchange, state prosecutors asked Arradondo whether the ex-officer, Derek Chauvin, had followed the proper procedures in restraining Floyd by kneeling on his neck.
"I absolutely do not agree," he said in response. According to Arradondo, Chauvin and Floyd's other arresting officers should have stopped pinning Floyd to the ground "once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless."
"To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back ... that is in no way, shape or form is anything by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics and our values," he said.
Arradondo entered his criticisms of Chauvin into the record Monday having previously and publicly decried Floyd's death as a murder. City police officers are trained to de-escalate hostile situations and to use force when a suspected criminal poses a risk of harm to others, according to his testimony.
Though officers at the time of Floyd's arrest were allowed to use force in the form of neck restraints, which have since been banned at both the state and city level, departmental policies cited in court Monday showed that they could only be performed with "light to moderate pressure."
"When I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd," Arradondo said Monday after viewing a still image taken from footage of his restraining, "that does not appear in any way shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure."
Many of the questions prosecutors asked of Arradondo pertained to policies that they then tried to demonstrate Chauvin violating. Chauvin's attorney responded partly by alluding in his questions for the chief to the potential dangers of police work.
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Arradondo agreed when Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, asked on cross-examination whether certain situations called for an officer to take control, and that the use of force itself can be a de-escalating tactic. At another point, Arradondo agreed with the defense that body-worn camera footage captured the night of May 25, 2020, appeared to show Chauvin kneeling not on Floyd's neck but on his shoulder blades.
The prosecution was quick to have Arradondo confirm in response that the footage in question depicted only the few moments before Floyd was transferred to a gurney by paramedics, and that Chauvin appeared not to be kneeling on Floyd's shoulder blades in earlier footage taken that evening. Arradondo added that it wasn't clear to him from the later footage if Floyd was even alive at the time that it was taken.
Other experts testify
Whether Chauvin's restraint of Floyd by the neck with his knee was allowable under police tactics permitted at the time was further called into question Monday by city police department Inspector Katie Blackwell, a former department training commander and 20-year colleague of former officer Chauvin.
"I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is. But that’s not how we train," she said that afternoon when prosecutors showed her an image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd.
Earlier in the day, the doctor who treated Floyd and declared him dead following his arrest offered up that asphyxiation may have played a role in his death, which a Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office autopsy had previously labeled as a homicide resulting from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restrain, and neck compression."
Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who treated Floyd the night of May 25, said Monday that asphyxia, in his assessment, contributed to the state of cardiac arrest in which he arrived to the Hennepin County Medical Center. He appeared to dismiss the idea that "excited delirium," a controversial diagnosis characterized by aggressive behavior, was a factor in Floyd's cardiac arrest.
Langenfeld said fentanyl, which was found in Floyd's system after his death, may have had something to do with the low-blood oxygen levels he observed in him the night of his death. The paramedics who transported Floyd to the medical center that night did not say that he overdosed on drugs or had a heart attack, according to Langenfeld, but did say that he had been in police custody.
Asked by the defense whether he considered on his own the possibility that Floyd had used drugs, Langenfeld said he did so "in the sense that it might have informed our care."
Testimony resumes at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 6, Judge Peter Cahill told jurors Monday.