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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 1, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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>> all right. they're having a little break right now to review some information. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. sara sidner, you're watching all of this. what are we seeing now? i assume this trial is about to resume. >> yeah. you are seeing a sergeant, former sergeant of the minneapolis police department who was on duty the night that george floyd died. he got a call from a 911 dispatcher. we heard from that dispatcher in the very first day of testimony. and she testified she was seeing a camera, a surveillance camera above the scene there at cup foods at 38th and chicago. she was watching the officers and noticed they were on george floyd for so long, at the time she didn't know his name was george floyd, but they were on a subject for so long, she thought there was something wrong with the cameras. then she realized they were
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still on the subject. so they called the supervisor. this is that supervisor. she calls him, she says i don't know, i might be a snitch here, you can call me that if you want, but it does seem like there might be a use of force issue going on right now, which apparently they're supposed to call about because she then says to him they haven't called me about it. the supervisor says maybe it's just a takedown, i will call. he ends up calling derek chauvin. then officer derek chauvin picks up the phone and says oh, i was just about to call you. then chauvin goes on to try for the first time we're hearing this again to explain what happened from his perspective. we have never heard this audio before. the world has not heard it. the jury has not heard it. the attorneys of course have looked at it. but this is new to us. i will try to quote for you what he said. he said we just had to hold a guy down. he went crazy.
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he, uh, wouldn't go back in the back of the squad. then it cuts off. so we're listening to this sergeant who was called and alerted by the 911 dispatcher, what he then did. he learned that things have gone terribly wrong with this subject. they're calling it throughout. that subject, by the way, is george floyd. we all know what happened to him. do you -- would you like me to explain what happened earlier today? there was really emotional testimony at the start of the trial today. >> it was very emotional. very powerful. yes, update our viewers on what happened. >> sure. so we heard from george floyd's girlfriend. and before she even started testifying, she started to cry. she was sniffling as she walked up. she spoke to the judge. they were very kind to one another. she sat down and had a very difficult time sort of pulling herself together. but she did. and she started talking about the life the two of them had. she talked about the fact that
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they had been together for almost three years. they sometimes had taken a break on and off relationship a bit. but they had been back together in the last couple of months before he died. and the one thing she talked about was something that america has struggled with, it's the opioid epidemic. she says that she and george floyd both had problems with addiction with opioid pills in particular. she said they were getting those pills at the start from other people who had prescriptions. in other words, they wanted to make sure they were safe, so they were getting opioids like oxycontin from other people who had already had prescriptions, so they knew they were prescription drugs. later on there was some question about the drugs that floyd started taking, she said. she herself said they both tried very, very hard to stop. but that they relapsed. and at one point in march it turns out that george floyd overdosed.
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ended up in the hospital, according to his girlfriend. she was there with him trying to help care for him. as he struggled with medical issues from an overdose. now, the reason why this is significant is because -- >> hold on for a moment, sara. we'll get back to you. it looks like the trial is resuming. >> typically visit the scene, is that right? >> yes. >> interview witnesses, correct? >> yes. >> gather all the information, body-worn cameras, correct? >> yes. >> and review that footage, correct? >> yes. >> and make a preliminary determination as to whether or not it would be necessary to forward this for a review by internal affairs, is that right? >> yes. >> and if you review some body-worn camera footage and find there's nothing to review, you wouldn't forward that to internal affairs. >> if i was doing a force report, it would go down there
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any ways. >> so it would also go to internal affairs. >> yes. >> if you review body-worn camera footage and determine that use of force might have been excessive, do you make a recommendation to internal affairs? >> yes. in that case you have to contact internal affairs. >> okay. i submit the foundation, your honor. >> i'd like a sidebar. >> all right. they're doing another what they call a sidebar, reviewing some information with the judge to make a decision. they presumably will continue in the next minute or two. we'll resume our special coverage of course. let's go back to sara sidner as we're watching this unfold. sara, this is day four of this trial, right? it looks like they're resuming
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right now. let's listen in. >> we'll have you back fairly soon . all right. we are outside the hearing of the jury. be seated, please. mr. nelson asked for an opportunity to voir dire the witness for a possible objection outside the hearing of the jury. mr. nelson? >> thank you.
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good afternoon, sergeant pleoger. >> good afternoon. >> during your normal course of duties as a police sergeant in reviewing use of force, what you're describing is what you would normally do, correct? >> yes. >> if a use of force is reported to you by an officer, in those circumstances the use of force review occurs by the shift supervisor, correct? >> yes. >> and the shift supervisor would first and foremost report to the scene, correct? >> yes. >> after that point, you would interview the officers that were involved, correct? >> yes. >> you may interview the person upon whom force is used, right? >> yes. >> you may interview witnesses to the use of force if they exist, correct? >> yes. >> you may review body-worn cameras, other evidence, photographs, whatever else may be a part of that process, right? >> yes. >> and it is much greater in --
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it's a limited but it's a bigger scope, right? >> yes. >> when a use of force incident becomes a critical incident, however, does your role change? >> i would no longer do a use of force in a critical incident. nor would i do it if someone had suffered injury if they were handcuffed. that goes up the chain then to the lieutenant in internal affairs. >> in certain circumstances you would not be required to do that, right? >> correct. >> in addition, your honor -- sergeant pleoger, i apologize. you did not do any of that use of force report review, use of force review on may 25th of 2020, did you? >> no. >> you didn't speak with the officers in depth about what happened, correct? >> no. >> you didn't interview any of the witnesses at the scene, did you? >> no. >> and you didn't review the
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body-worn cameras that night, did you? >> no. >> in preparation for your testimony, were you given the entirety of the case file for this case? >> no. >> do you have 50,000 pages of police reports? >> no. >> have you reviewed any of the interviews from any of the witnesses? >> no. >> have you reviewed any of the statements that were given relevant to this case by any of the involved officers from those who did give statements? >> no. >> all right. so in -- in this case, in preparation, were you allowed to watch the entirety of all of the body-worn cameras? >> i think i did. >> okay. >> and that was in preparation or while you were being interviewed with the state prosecutors, right? >> correct. >> so in terms of the information you have, you have a limited amount of information which would be limited to just a review of the body-worn cameras.
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>> yes. >> and that would not be the normal course for a sergeant's use of force review. >> yes. >> i'm still not clear as to who made the decision in this case. i don't have very much of a foundation for who gave this opinion, or gave an opinion in this case. could you follow up with -- >> i'm sorry, your honor. >> i don't think i have foundation yet. it sounds like critical incident, it gets passed up. who made -- i don't know who made the decision on use of force. >> well, there wasn't -- >> could you maybe inquire? >> i can, your honor. i want to clean up one part of the record first. in terms of reviewing the body-worn camera footage with the state, i think the question was state prosecutors. you didn't review them with the state prosecutors, but you have reviewed those with prosecutors,
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is that correct? >> correct. >> other prosecutors, not associated with this particular case. >> right. >> is that right? >> yes. >> now, in -- to answer the court's question, in terms of whether or not you did a use of force review pursuant to the policy in this particular case, you did not, correct? >> correct. >> you passed the scene along and followed the critical incident policy per the critical incident guidelines, is that right? >> yes. >> however in the course of your duties as a shift sergeant, you do force reviews, is that right? >> yes. >> you follow the policy in conducting supervisory force reviews. >> yes. >> and if we could pull up the exhibit again, 222, if you go to
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the next page, please. in conducting a force review, if you could please call out roman i. you contact the internal unit affairs unit by phone if the force appears to be unreasonable or constitutes possible misconduct, is that right? >> yes. >> so you make an assessment if force was excessive or could be possible misconduct, true? >> true. >> if you could go to the next page. call out "b." and again, based on the totality of information available at the time, if you as a supervisor
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feel that the use of force may have been unrepubasonable or no within policy, you can state so in your supervisory force review, is that right? >> right. >> that's the policy that you follow? >> yes. >> so, your honor, i don't believe that this is a lack of foundation. he has clearly qualified to give an opinion, a limited opinion, that based on his preliminary review as stated and disclosed, he believed that the restraint should have ended very shortly after mr. floyd was taken to the ground, handcuffed and no longer resisting. that's the sum and substance of the opinion i intend to offer. >> if i could just follow up with a couple questions. in this particular case, the reason you called the lieutenant was because mr. floyd died, right? >> i would have called the
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lieutenant first because force was used and he was in handcuffs. any force that results -- or that's used when somebody is in handcuffs requires me to call the lieutenant and internal affairs. >> so that went up the chain naturally that way. and when mr. floyd died, this use of force policy is replaced with the critical incident policy. is that correct? >> yes. >> so, your honor, i guess the issue here is this is exactly what the motions in liminae were designed to effectuate. this officer, sergeant pleoger did not make this determination. he has not done a use of force review as he would have done in this policy. he has not reviewed the entirety of the evidence in this particular case. and while he may have seen certain body camera footage and made some determination based on that limited information, he hasn't seen everything else. so it's -- it's -- it is not within his purview -- this is what the motion in liminae was
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specifically designed for. >> mr. swisher, as i understand it, you're asking a narrower opinion? >> that's correct. i'm asking exactly what i proffered, in his opinion the force should have ended very shortly after mr. floyd was on the ground, handcuffed, in the prone position and no longer resistant. >> you can ask that one question. let's bring the jury back. >> this is probably going to be our last witness? >> we have one more. >> how long is that. >> we could get him done in a half hour. >> okay. we'll see how it goes.
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all right. the jury is being brought back in to this trial. they were removed as they debated a sidebar issue. we'll watch what this unfolds. there's one more question, we're told, that will be asked to this witness, sergeant david pleoger. explain what's going on now. this is a sensitive moment. >> yes, when you have matters of law, usually an attorney can stand up and make an objection based upon a matter of law. the jury will go out. what you saw there was the prosecution and the defense going back and forth over a report that the defense was -- that the prosecution was trying to get in. what we saw was that the person
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who was testifying -- the defense was making the argument since he was not there, he did not compile the report, he cannot give his opinion based on that report. >> all right. hold on -- hold on. >> you saw it could be a very narrow question asked. >> hold your thought. let's resume the coverage of the trial. >> correct. >> thank you. i have no further questions, your honor. >> mr. nelson? >> thank you, your honor . good afternoon, sergeant pleogerment >> good afternoon, sir. >> thank you for being with us today. a few questions that i had to follow up on with you.
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when a police officer under your command uses force, are they required to immediately notify you? >> it depends on the type of force. >> okay. >> are there certain circumstances where you may get a phone call or a radio dispatch immediately? >> yes. >> are there certain circumstances or situations where you may get a phone call or a report of a use of force within 10 to 15 minutes? >> yes. >> are there circumstances where you may get a use of force report or -- from an officer from an hour or two later? >> not one that would cause me to have to go to the scene. that would be more immediate. they would want to let me know right away because i would have to get out there and interview the subject. >> but it could happen within more than 10, 15, 20 minutes that you get that notification? >> yes. >> it would be fair to say that
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in certain types of use of force there may be other -- use of force cases, there may be other activities that the officer needs to do after the use of force, would you agree with that? >> yes. >> so they may use force against suspect number one, but then they have to apprehend suspect number two, for example? right? >> yes. >> and they used force on number one, but they get number two detained, it takes some time, then they call you, right? >> yes. >> or for example, an officer may use some force, conduct some additional information, whether interviewing witnesses, then they may call you? >> yes. >> is there a requirement that an officer call you about use of force on dispatch channels? >> no. >> they can call you on your cell phone or send text? >> yes.
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>> they need to say rewe need y to come out to the scene, we used force. >> yes. >> now , just a second. showing you exhibit 221. policy 5-306 regarding medical assistance. what do the first four words after medical assistance read? >> as soon as reasonably --
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>> practical. i said four. got me. >> reasonably practical. >> correct. >> an officer has to use o.r medical assistance as soon as reasonably practical, correct? >> yes. >> are you aware -- essentially when a police officer is engaged in a situation, would you agree that an officer is constantly taking in new information, processing that information, comparing it to what happened before, and making decisions based on information as it comes in? >> yes. >> information as an officer is dealing with the situation can change, right? >> yes. >> and that information that they take in may change or modify the behavior your in response to the situation,
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right? >> yes. >> so, for example, sometimes an officer may decide to use a taser or conduct an electricity unit, right? but then realize, that's not enough. i better get my gun out based on the threat that they perceive, right? >> yes. >> or vice versa, they may have their gun drawn, realize that's too much force, put it away and take out a different tool that they have, right? >> yes. >> so officers are constantly assessing and reassessing a situation based upon the information as this comes to them. agreed? >> yes. >> you have -- you were an officer for, what, 27 years i think you said? you've -- i'm assuming arrested hundreds if not thousands of individuals during your career? >> yes. >> you had to use force yourself? >> yes. >> and would you agree with the general premise that the use of force is not necessarily attractive? >> yes. >> and sometimes officers have
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to do very violent things. agreed? >> yes. >> it's a dangerous job. >> correct. >> have you ever heard the term hold for ems? an officer says i held him for ems? >> not familiar with that. >> okay. so if you are involved in a use of force situation and an officer calls for medics, right? and i will strike that. an officer decides to use the maximal restraint or the hobble, right? but they've -- a medical emergency arises, and they call for ems. would it be consistent with the critical decisionmaking policy to say i'm not going to hobble this person because i know ems is on the way. >> objection, your honor.
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sid sidebar. >> all right. while they're in this sidebar, let's go back to bakari sellers to explain what's going on. bakari, another apparent legal dispute between the prosecution and the defense. >> yeah. you know, the prosecution is doing its yoman's work with this report attempting to show -- that's what we're seeing when you go through this report, you're attempting to show what should have been done. the fact that the knee should have been coming off the neck, they should have allowed george floyd to be detained, this usage of force should have stopped at that time. the defense is now going back and trying to pick apart that report. this report is very important because this is an expert opinion saying how the police
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should have behaved. and what this report says is that derek chauvin's behavior was inappropriate under the circumstances and that the use of force should have stopped. and so you're seeing this back and forth. and many times this back and forth is done outside of the jury's purview. and i think they're going right back now. >> yeah. let's listen in. >> was engaged in a struggle with a suspect and decided to use the maximal restraint technique. the but then the suspect had a medical emergency. would it be common for the officer to decide i'm not going to use the maximal restraint technique at this point? i'm going to hold the suspect in place until ems gets here? >> objection. calls for speculation. >> overruled. >> so you're saying the officer is planning to use the hobble, hasn't put it on yet, the suspect has a medical emergency, decides not to use it and hold
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them? >> right. >> yes. >> when a maximal restraint technique is applied, the suspect is essentially handcuffed behind their back and through a series of belts their legs are bent kind of upward angle and then connected to some sort of device, right, around the waist? >> i don't think they bend back towards the back anymore. they like to keep them straight. >> but there's a tie between the ankles and the waist essentially? >> correct. >> right? and if ems is on the way, the restraint -- you've got to take that off and can delay medical care, agreed? >> you're saying taking -- i'm sorry, could you repeat that? >> if an officer uses the maximal restraint technique and ems has to come, the officers have to remove that potentially, right? >> correct. >> and that can delay medical
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treatment. sure. >> now again, in your 27 years as a police officer, have you had to deal with crowds of people that form and watch your activity? >> yes. >> in your experience as a police officer, especially in the more recent era, have you been in a situation where bystanders begin to film you and your activities? >> yes. >> does that happen more and more these days than it did five years ago? >> yes. >> and have you been in a situation in your career as a law enforcement officer where the crowd starts to yell at you? >> yes. >> or becomes a little more volatile? >> yes. >> as an officer, does that cause you concern? >> yes.
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>> generally speaking, as -- again, as an officer with 27 years of experience, if you're dealing with one potential suspect and then a new perceived threat emerges, but you know that person needs medical attention, do you deal with the medical attention and ignore the threat or do you deal with the threat and then deal with the medical attention? >> i guess you would have to deal with both simultaneously. >> and that depends on the circumstances, would you agree with that? >> yes. >> so, for example, if you were in a gun battle and someone was shooting at you and someone had a -- went into cardiac arrest, would you stop what you were doing to -- to mitigate the threat, in order to immediately perform cpr?
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>> i -- >> -- or would you continue with the threat? >> i would mitigate the threat to me. >> you've gone through all the standard training of minneapolis police department? >> yes. >> you had to deal with suspects who have been rendered unconscious? >> occasionally. >> the way the minneapolis police department -- where the training indicates that you need to be careful because when someone comes back out of consciousness -- unconsciousness they can become more volatile than they were before? >> that can happen. yes. >> you were asked a series of questions about what -- about the sergeant's use of force review. right? a force review. >> yes. >> in a force review there's certain things you're required
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to do, correct? >> yes. >> that would include having a conversation with the involved officer, right? >> right. >> that would involve potentially having a conversation with the suspect upon whom force was used. agreed? >> yes. >> review of the body-worn cameras, right? >> yes. >> review of any other evidence that may exist such as witness statements, photographs, phone records, whatever it may consist of. right? >> yes. >> it's not a huge very thorough investigation, it's kind of a cursory look, right? >> correct. >> and -- but there's more to it than simply watching a body-worn camera, right? >> yes. >> in this particular case, when you arrived on scene, you initially spoke with officers kueng and lane and mr. chauvin was present in that scene. >> yes.
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>> and he was listening as officer kueng and lane told you what had just happened. >> yes. >> now, when -- in your experience as a police officer, when a supervisor's use of force -- strike that. when an -- when one group of officers goes to a scene and a second shows up to assist, whose arrest is that? is it the original officer or the assisting officers? >> should be the original officer. >> all right. and so when you're reviewing a circumstance, is it going to be -- would it be your policy to talk to the arresting officers or the assisting officers first to find out what happened? >> i guess i wouldn't care one way or the other. whoever wants to tell me the story. >> okay. and if one officer is responsible for it, you will go to that officer, right? >> right. >> if two officers, you're going to ask them both.
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>> correct. >> if all of the officers are standing around and talking about it, that's what you need to do initially, right? >> correct. >> now, you were discussing again in this particular incident, you were at -- when you arrived on scene, you asked -- you kind of gave some direction to these officers, right? >> yes. >> and at the point that you arrived on scene, you knew it was a use of force incident, but it was not what you would call a critical incident. agreed. >> agreed. >> because at that point mr. floyd to the best of your knowledge was still alive. >> right. >> objection. speculation. >> if you know what the answer to that is. >> one more time, sir? >> at the point that you were initially on scene, you had no information that mr. floyd was deceased, right? >> correct.
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>> now, you then instructed the officers to do a few things, right? potentially talk to witnesses and then two officers to go down to the hospital with you. >> yes. >> in their squad car. >> yes. >> all right. and that's -- we saw this video where you instructed officer chauvin to try to get some witness statements, things of that nature, right? >> yes. >> and he had -- he made the comment that he would try, but the crowd seemed pretty hostile. >> yes. >> officer chauvin and officer thao ended up at the hospital with you? >> they did. >> and officer kueng and officer lane remained on scene, right? >> yes. >> at some point when you
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learned that mr. floyd had died, the use of force was no -- the use of force review was no longer reviewed by you, correct? >> correct. >> someone died -- i believe even per policy, if someone was -- a use of force occurred while someone was in handcuffs, that policy required you to reach out to your superiors? >> that's correct. >> if more floyd had not died, you would have not conducted a use of force review, correct? >> correct. >> you would have left it to the higher-ups, the people up the chain of command? >> right. since he sustained an injury in handcuffs. >> right. likewise, when a suspect dies in police custody, you don't do a use of force review. >> right. >> and you did not do a use of force review in this case, did you? >> no. >> you talked about when it became a critical incident, the officers ended up at room 100
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down at city hall. i think you initially said it was the courthouse, but you're talking about city hall across the street? >> yes, i said it wrong. >> that's a room maintained by the minneapolis police administration, right? >> right. >> that's where any involved officers go during a critical incident? >> yes. >> officers involved or potentially witnesses to a critical incident. >> correct. >> and you understand that the four-involved officers were each individually transported to room 100, right? >> i believe that was the case. >> you referenced that at that point kind of the critical incident policy takes over and certain things have to happen pursuant to the critical incident policy, right? >> yes. >> a whole host of things have to happen, right? >> yes. >> you referenced interviews of
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officers. you have no idea if interviews of officers occurred in room 100 on or about may 25, 2020 or may 26th of 2020. >> i'm not positive. no. >> that's one thing that could potentially happen, right? >> yes. >> but not necessarily. >> right. >> now, you testified that kind of at the end of the night, officer -- at the end of your invol involvement, officer lane handed you a couple pieces of evidence that pertained to the arrest back at 38th and chicago, right? >> correct. >> or the incident at 38th and chicago, right? >> yes. >> do you recall what those items were? >> i recall one for sure was a slip of paper with a name for one of the parties in the vehicle that he had gotten. >> do you recall the other being an identification card?
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>> i think so. >> and do you remember the name of the person that was on the slip of paper? >> i don't. >> would it refresh your recollection to review your report that you drafted that night? >> yes. >> may i approach the witness, your honor? >> you may. [ inaudible [ inaudible ]
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>> does that refresh your recol recollection? >> yes. >> what was the name on the piece of paper? shawanda hill? >> shawanda hill. >> and the other item that he handed you was a minnesota identification card, correct? >> correct. >> with the name of william smythe? >> yes . >> i have no further questions, your honor. >> redirect, please. >> thank you, your honor.
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sir, you were asked whether you agree with the proposition that sometimes police officers have to do violent things. you agree with that, correct? >> yes. >> but sometimes police officers should not do violent things, isn't that right? >> yes. >> you were asked about the critical thinking model that is used and adopted by the minneapolis police department, correct? >> correct. >> that's a model that requires officers to continually take in information, evaluate it, re-evaluate it, reassess, and if necessary adjust their conduct, correct? >> yes. >> and as you stated under questioning by defense counsel, sometimes the information they're taking in would cause the officer to need to take more drastic measures. fair? >> yes. >> but sometimes the information that the officer would take in would cause them to need to re-evaluate what they're doing and use less drastic measures, correct? >> yes.
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>> some of the information that might be relevant is whether or not this -- >> objection. leading. >> overruled. >> whether or not the subject is resisting. correct? >> could you say that one more time? >> one of the pieces of information the officer may need to take in and evaluate is whether the subject is resisting, correct? >> yes. >> and if the subject is not resisting, there's no longer a need to continue to restrain them, correct? >> yes. >> and other information that might be helpful this making an assessment is to determine whether or not the subject is continuing to breathe, correct? >> yes. >> objection. >> if you would rephrase. >> would it be important for an officer -- [ inaudible ]. >> response is stricken. >> would it be reasonable then in the critical thinking model for an officer to determine and
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take in information about the subject's medical condition? >> yes. >> for example, if the subject is no longer breathing, would it be important for the officer to take that into account to reassess and re-evaluate what they're doing? >> yes. >> or if the subject no longer has a pulse, for example, would that be important information in the critical thinking model for the officer to take in, consider, and decide to maybe take a different step? >> yes. >> and in such a case, would it be possible then that the officer would not need to do something violent but would need to do something less violent? >> yes. >> like render medical assistance? >> yes. >> you were asked about threat
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assessment. is that right? >> yes. >> and you were asked about an example of whether an officer would perceive a threat if there was a gun battle and need to make a determination between medical attention and that kind of extreme threat. right? >> yes. >> you reviewed the body-worn cameras, correct? >> i've reviewed -- yes, i've reviewed body-worn camera footage. >> you didn't see a gun battle? >> no. >> nothing further. >> so the critical decisionmaking model requires the officers to take in multiple
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pieces of information and decide how to act based on the circumstances. right? >> yes. >> other factors they may consider is the size of the crowd, right? >> yes. >> their tactical position. >> yes. >> traffic. >> sure. >> rendering medical aid to a person in the middle of a busy street while buses and cars are turning, that may not be the best decision for an officer to make. >> right. >> rendering medical aid or trying -- while trying to deal with other people who are upset with you or volatile towards you may come into play, agreed? >> yes. >> an officer who is essentially in a tactical disadvantage, that would come into play. >> yes. >> officers have to look at lots
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of different bits of information and decide how to provide based on the totality of the circumstances and not just one single fact, agreed? >> yes. >> no further questions. >> nothing further? >> briefly. >> and an officer needs to consider whether other sources of information might be relevant to the need to render medical aid, correct? >> yes. >> including people telling the officer that a person was in need of medical assistance. that might be important for them to consider. >> sure. >> and if somebody is communicating this in a desperate fashion, that doesn't necessarily constitute a threat to the officer, does it? >> objection.
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leading. >> sustained. >> i have nothing further, your honor. >> thank you. thank you, sergeant. you may step down. >> thank you, sir. >> members of the jury, we'lled a jurn aed a jur ed aadjourn for the d. >> i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. we've been following the derek chauvin murder trial where testimony just wrapped up after another very, very dramatic day in court. some truly extraordinary new developments unfolding just now. we heard from a shift supervisor who testified about officer chauvin's use of force. we also heard gut wrenching testimony from the first paramedics on the scene as they described coming across george floyd's lifeless unresponsive body. and in a move to preempt chauvin's defense team from blaming floyd's drug use for his death as we discussed with sara
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sidner, the prosecution called on floyd's girlfriend of some three years to give emotional tearful testimony about their mutual struggle with opioid addiction. let's check in with our senior national correspondent sara sidner covering the chauvin trial for us. update us on the latest. what we just saw in the last few minutes was very powerful. >> we are getting to the real meat of the policy -- use of force policy at this department. this could really be the crux of the case. all of the emotion you've heard from the witnesses is going to matter greatly. this is the most technical stuff that the jury will be taking notes on and really drilling down on because if they determine that he, indeed, went far beyond what the policy says -- i'm talking about former
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officer derek chauvin here, if the jury determines that he overstepped his bounds, went far beyond what the use of force policy is, that is going to be a major problem for him. because what it tells you is -- what you're hearing from this minneapolis police sergeant, david pleoger, he is a former sergeant, but he was there that day. he's getting phone calls. he's talking to chauvin. then he's going to the scene. if he says, look, the officer has to at any given time assess the situation. you heard him say, yes, he has to assess the situation. not just once, not just twice, but throughout the whole time that they are trying to detain or arrest someone or having any kind of contact with someone. and so in this instance, he is asked over and over again, okay, so if the person is resisting, then you do one thing. yes. if the person is not resisting, then you change your behavior. you reassess. and if the person stops breathing, you must reassess
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again, correct? and his answer was correct. these are really short answers. but they are extremely important because hearing a sergeant say that the knee should have been removed from his neck when he stopped moving or resisting, that is a powerful moment no matter how short the testimony coming out of the mouth of that former sergeant who was there that day. >> stand by. i want to bring bakari back into this analysis. how revealing was this testimony from this retired minneapolis police sergeant, david pleoger, particularly when he says how derek chauvin characterized this entire incident? >> i agree with sara. this is the meat and potatoes. we've gotten to the crux of the case. in fact, the defense actually laid out their entire argument. you heard how he was saying you should behave in this moment or that moment, answering with very short yeses when you're doing
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your assessment. what stood out to me the most is when the defense was able to ask him, if you see a crowd or if you have individuals who are posing some threat or he went down this list of scenarios, he said would your assessment change? he said if someone was unconscious, would you render aid or would you control the crowd or would you do both? he said he would do both. so he went down this list of things attempting to paint the picture of what derek chauvin saw that day. to many of us we were sitting here january 6th and we saw what a rabid crowd looks like. we saw what individuals who look forceful, threatening look like. when we look at those body camera images, it doesn't look like that was a threatening crowd the way the defense was making it out to be. however if one or two jurors buy that line of questioning, today's witness will be that much more important. what he's attempting to say is that derek chauvin kept his knee on the neck regardless of his physical condition because he was trying to not only subdue a
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detainee but also trying to be mindful of the crowd and he had to do both. you heard him say could you render aid in a street or could you i mean, the question is why did you not move mr. freuloyd off t street if that was a concern. the defense laid out all of their cards. to sara's point, it's very difficult for me to buy into that argument. however, you at least see what their argument is. >> you see what the prosecution is arguing, what the defense is arguing. what do you make of those interactions that we just saw described between chauvin and that retired police supervisor, the supervisor saying that chauvin didn't mention putting his knee on floyd's neck, for example? >> yeah. thank you so much for having me.
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i think it falls nicely into what we know happened on may 25th, right? that is that this police report, that the details of this incident are written in a way that's very, very different than what we know now happened. so the fact that chauvin left this out when talking to his line supervisor shouldn't come as any surprise, because we know the documentation that first was produced d left out many detai and in fact painted mr. floyd quite differently than how he presented on that day. >> we did hear that audiotape of the former police officer chauvin saying that george floyd was, quote, going crazy. was that an attempt to bolster his own version of events or potentially a dog whistle, if you will? >> i think it's both. i think it's both, to be clear. obviously, you know, you want to
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be able to make the point that the use of force is justified. and so even in this day and age knowing that there were cameras all around him in people's hands, on street poles, inside stores and even on his body or on his partners' bodies, he decided that he was going to give a verbal statement that contradicted that video evidence. and then in many ways i think we know that the history of racism in america and the way that that works in our criminal legal system works to the benefit of an individual who's able to use that dog whistle. so i think it's both and in system respects, as bakari said earlier, if there's just one juror who hears that and it resonates with him, then he has what he needs. >> captain ron johnson is joining us as well, formerly with the missouri state highway patrol. captain johnson, the minneapolis
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police sergeant who testified that the restraint by an officer should stop when the person is handcuffed, no longer resisting, clearly that happened, right? >> clearly that happened. and the sergeant's testimony was really strong. i know there's been some talk about how short his answers were, because i think his answers were short because of the policies and procedure of that department was clear. they were clear what should have happened here in that circumstance. when the attorney talked about the gun battle, would you give aid in a gun battle? well, if you're in a gun battle, you're not going to have your hand in your pocket. you make sure you render aid. you can do both. >> clearly didn't stop when george floyd was on the ground. he wasn't resisting. he was just lying there, yet the effort by chauvin to continue with the knee on his neck, that continued for several more minutes, right, captain johnson?
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>> yes. there were many opportunities to render aid. you saw there was no movement from mr. floyd, no movement at all. you also know that they talked about training, that if you keep someone on their stomach for a long period of time, it hinders their breathing. we heard the officer say, hey, we need to turn him over on his side. so in their training, they were told that. if someone starts complaining of breathing, this may be an issue. so their training, they had heard that. what mr. floyd was exhibiting and what he was saying was in line with what they heard in their training that they would see. >> bakari, earlier in the testimony from this paramedic on the scene, he described arriving there on the scene on that day and he said, quote, in lay terms, i thought he was dead. what stands out to you today from the testimony highlighting the medical response? >> i think that was extremely
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powerful. i think that was probably the strongest moment or one of the strongest moments the prosecution has had thus far. you sad someone who was literally not just dying but dead, and there were other professionals on par with derek chauvin. that's one of the most important things when you're talking at a juror. this isn't some layman. this is a professional on par with derek chauvin who was able to acknowledge the lack of humanity, the lack of compassion and say, you are treating this man so poorly that he is now dead. i believe him to be dead and/or dying. it was a very very powerful moment. i think the prosecution is doing a good job throughout this. i mean, the defense has some flairs of moments where you can at least understand their line of thought even if it is absurd to some of us. however, the prosecution is still sticking to the themes that they laid out in their opening argument, which is so important. they keep going back to the lack of compassion, the lack of humanity and the fact that he did not follow his own standard
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practices and procedures. i think this all ties in very well, because if you see someone who is not moving, who is not breathing, there is nothing left for you to do but render aid, at least to get your knee off his neck. gee whiz, praise god, got your knee off his neck. and he did not even do that. i think that is where the lack of humanity is going to resonate with a lot of jurors. again, this is still a long way to go, wolf. >> sara, that paramedic also testified. it was a powerful moment when the paramedic said, any layperson can do chest compressions to try to get somebody to stay alive. there was, quote, no reason the minneapolis police couldn't have at least started those kind of chest compressions. did often chauvin fail in his duty to provide that kind of emergency care to save the life of this individual? >> if you listen to what the paramedics and the emt and his
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sergeant said, the answer to that is really clear, i think, to the jury. the answer to that is yes. if everyone around him was telling him, with the exception of the other officers who were with him, if everyone else around him, including other professionals, including paramedics say, the guy appears to be dead and you are still kneeling on him while the paramedics are there, you have a problem. i do want to mention this, though. one thing the jury cannot know, because the judge said it was something the jury cannot know, is that these four officers within 48 hours were fired because of what they did that day, they broke policy according to the police department. the jury will not know that. >> everybody, stick around. we're going to continue our special coverage on this trial, this important trial in minneapolis. much more right after this. ♪ na na na na
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♪ welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following all the testimony in the key trial of former police officer derek chauvin. court just ended for the day after a former police supervisor testified that chauvin
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restrained george floyd for too long. juries heard an audio recording of shachauvin describing the arrest, saying that floyd was, quote, going crazy. paramedics say floyd was unresponsive and appeared to be dead when they arrived at the scene. but chauvin's knee was still firmly planted on floyd's neck until they asked him to move so they could treat the patient. floyd's girlfriend of some three years offered the most emotional testimony of the day describing both his kindness as well as his struggle with drug addiction. let's go to minneapolis once again. omar jimenez is on the story. tell us about this final round of testimony on this day four of testimony during this trial. tell us about chauvin's use of force on floyd. >> reporter: wolf, bottom line, derek chauvin's supervisory sergeant a


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