Derek Chauvin Murder Trial Day 23 – Defense Begins To Make Their Case

By Maryam Henein

The defense began calling witnesses and experts as Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continues.

Barry Brodd

Barry Brodd, a longtime police instructor testified Tuesday on behalf of the defense.

“I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified was acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” said Bodd who now works as a private consultant and expert in the use of force. Brodd served 22 years in the Santa Rosa Police Department before his retirement in 2004.

For the trial, he reviewed all the evidence dealing with Floyd’s detention at 38th and Chicago.

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Brodd brought up a scenario he taught at the academy referring to a domestic violence incident where an individual is Tased, falls to the ground, and strikes his head. “That’s not deadly force, that’s an accidental death.”

Brodd said it’s important for anyone “to try to see it as the officer on the scene … then try to put yourself in the officer’s shoes. It’s easy to sit in an office and judge an officer’s conduct.”

Brodd testified that police used force in attempting to get Floyd in the squad car and getting him to the ground, but once Floyd was on the ground, Brodd said he didn’t believe the “prone control” position was a use of force.

He said that officers must always keep their head on a swivel and engage in “one-upmanship,” meaning officers do not have to fight fair: “They’re allowed to overcome your resistance by going up a level to gain control.”

“I can’t imagine how many times I’ve been exposed to personally or seen other officers dealing with a traffic stop or jaywalking or some minor offense and they end up in a fight for their life because of the conduct of the individual,” he said.

Brodd also pointed to other factors that supported Chauvin keeping Floyd on the pavement for that long. For instance, he mentioned the agitated bystanders, which has been brought up by the defense.

Brodd said the bystanders had distracted and concerned Chauvin to the point that he reached for his mace.

“In this situation, there were space limitations, Mr. Floyd was butted up against patrol car, there was traffic still driving down the street, there were crowd issues that took the attention of the officers and Mr. Floyd was still somewhat resisting, so I think those were all valid reasons to keep him in the prone,” he said.

Brodd also said that Chauvin would have been justified in using a “higher level of force that they chose not to select.”

Brodd said he’d reached out to officials with the Minneapolis city attorney’s office to offer his services. When he was not retained by them or the state, he was hired by Chauvin’s defense. So far he has been paid $11,400.

Under cross-examination, prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed Brodd a photo of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck. Brodd acknowledged that “I see his knee on the upper spine and neck area.”

Shawanda Hill

Ex-girlfriend Shawanda Hill also took the stand, sharing that she bumped into Floyd at Cup Foods on May 25 whereupon he offered her a ride and appeared “normal” and “alert.”

Last week, fiancee Courtney Hall said that she and George have purchased illegal pills from Hill and another friend, Morries Lester Hall. It seems that Hill, 46, also has a criminal record.

Hill says Floyd fell asleep after his visit to Cup Foods and woke up when Officer Thomas Lane tapped on the window and then drew his gun.

Before cops arrived, store employees approached the vehicle about Floyd passing a fake $20 bill.

“They were trying to wake him up … over and over. He woke up, he'[d] say something, ma[k]e a little gesture and nodded back off.”

According to testimony last week from a former Cup Foods employee, he tried to give Floyd a chance to return the cigarettes he bought with the fake $20 or use another bill. Floyd didn’t cooperate.

She added that Floyd told her “he was tired because he had been working.”

Wonder, where he was working since both his employers El Nuevo Rodeo and Latin Bistro were closed due to the coronavirus lockdowns. It has been reported that he also drove trucks. 

Several minutes later, the police arrived and Floyd awoke at her urging, Hill said while on the stand wearing a wig, and blue latex gloves (to probably fend against the Rona).

Hill said Floyd woke up the second time she tried to rouse him and told him, “‘The police is here. It’s about the $20 bill that wasn’t real.’”

During cross-examination, Matthew Frank began roughly where Hill’s account left off.

She testified that she went on to tell Floyd, “‘Baby, that’s the police. Roll down the window.’ … The man had a gun at the window. [Floyd] instantly grabbed the wheel, and he said, ‘Please, please don’t shoot me.’”

 

During her testimony, Frank cut her off and she clearly got annoyed.

“You said to explain, so I am explaining sir,” she retorted.

Body-cam footage shows Hill saying, “He still won’t get in the car! Just sit down George! Oh man, what is he doing? Now he goin to jail!”

 

Hill said she saw nothing to indicate Floyd was having any health problems such as shortness of breath or chest pains.

“Did he seem startled when the officer pulled the gun on him?” Frank asked.

“Very,” Hill said.

Unfortunately, Hill was not asked in open court about any drugs and whether she was under the influence of controlled substances during her time Floyd.

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