Minneapolis PD use-of-force trainer says Chauvin knee restraint never authorized

The New York Post:

The top use-of-force trainer for the Minneapolis Police Department said Tuesday that Derek Chauvin’s knee restraint on George Floyd is not authorized — and never has been.

Lt. Johnny Mercil testified at Chauvin’s murder trial in Floyd’s death that, while the department allows neck restraints in certain situations, the ex-cop’s decision to keep his neck on the victim’s neck for more than 9 minutes is not allowed.

“Sir, is this an MPD-trained neck restraint?” prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked.

“No sir,” Mercil, who trains MPD cops in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other martial arts, replied.

“Has it ever been?” Schleicher said.

“Not to my — neck restraint? No, sir,” Mercil answered.

He said a neck restraint could render someone unconscious in “under 10 seconds.” 

Asked under what circumstances a neck restraint could be used by a cop based on the training, Mercil said it would depend on the amount of resistance from a suspect.

“So, if there was, say, for example, the subject was under control and handcuffed, would this be authorized?” Schleicher asked him.

“I would say no,” the cop replied.

Chauvin, 45, is on trial on second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death.

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has maintained that Floyd died as a result of drug use and a heart ailment — not the former cop’s conduct.

In cross-examination by Nelson Tuesday, Mercil conceded that “passive” and “compliant” suspects can suddenly turn unruly and aggressive.

But the use-of-force expert, who testified that he has trained “hundreds” of officers in the use of neck restraints, also told the defense attorney that the one restraint allowed by the department is a knee across the shoulder blade — rather than the neck.

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