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Minneapolis police chief says Floyd’s death was ‘murder’

Video footage showed police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd.

Video footage showed police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd.Credit:Darnella Frazier via AP

In response to questions and a data request from the Star Tribune, Arradondo issued a statement on Monday night saying: “Mr George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training – the training was there. Chauvin knew what he was doing.”

Arradondo went on to say: “The officers knew what was happening – one intentionally caused it and the others failed to prevent it. This was murder – it wasn’t a lack of training.”

Attorneys for Chauvin, Thao and Kueng had no comment. A message left for Lane’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned to The Associated Press.

Arradondo said in his statement that both Chauvin and Thao took training on the dangers of positional asphyxiation in 2014. The training, which covered how to get an arrestee from a prone position into a recovery or seated position, was required after a 2013 settlement with the family of David Cornelius Smith, a handcuffed black man who died in 2010 after police pinned him face down.

Arradondo said the department also changed its policy in June 2014 to explicitly require moving an arrestee from a prone position to a recovery position when the highest degree of restraint is used, and to require continuous monitoring of the person’s condition.

He also said trainees continue to discuss the risks of in-custody deaths, and there’s “simply no way that any competent officer” would be unaware of the need to move an arrestee so he or she can breathe freely.

Separately, leaders of the Minneapolis police union acknowledged Tuesday that bystander video of the police encounter with Floyd was “horrific” but said they’ve been denied the chance to look at body camera video that could shed more light on what happened.

The union’s president, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, issued a statement soon after Floyd died cautioning the public not to rush to judgment and saying the union would provide its “full support” to the officers. On Tuesday, he told CBS This Morning that he thinks union members are being scapegoated for incompetent department leadership.

Kroll acknowledged that widely seen mobile phone video of Floyd’s death is “horrific,” but that the union was left “blindsided” by being denied the right to review officer body camera video.

“Right now we cannot make an informed decision regarding the other officers that do not appear on camera,” he said.

Union director Rich Walker said “any human being” that watches the bystander video knows that Floyd’s arrest “should not have ended the way it did.” But Walker questioned statements that Floyd didn’t resist officers because the union hasn’t seen footage of the minutes leading up to what the bystander video showed.

A protester holds a sign during a march over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this month.

A protester holds a sign during a march over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this month.Credit:AP

The Louisville Metro Police Department meanwhile has fired one of the three officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, the most significant action yet in a case that has drawn public outrage for the killing and the fact that no criminal charges have been filed.

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In a termination letter posted to the department’s Twitter account, Chief Robert Schroeder accused the former officer, Brett Hankison, of violating its policy on the use of deadly force, saying he “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment March 13.

After Taylor’s boyfriend shot one officer in the leg as they broke down her door during a drug raid, the officers returned fire and killed Taylor, 26.

Questions about Taylor’s death intensified after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police in May. Weeks of protests in Louisville, Kentucky, followed, and mayor Greg Fischer banned no-knock warrants.

AP, with New York Times

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