Derek Chauvin Trial Day Six: Physician, Minneapolis Police Chief Testify

Court proceedings resumed Monday morning (April 5) following the first week of arguments in the trial against Derek Chauvin who’s facing multiple murder charges in the death of George Floyd last May.  

During the sixth day of arguments, the court heard testimony from the physician who tried to save George Floyd’s life and the police chief who fired Chauvin. 

State prosecutors added to the more than a dozen witnesses to its case against Chauvin, kicking off the week with testimony from the emergency physician who tried to save Floyd’s life after Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. 

Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, an emergency physician at Hennepin County Medical Center where Floyd was taken after paramedics arrived at Cup Foods, testified that “hypoxia” was likely a cause of George Floyd’s cardiac arrest. “There was no obvious, significant external trauma that would have suggested he suffered anything that could produce bleeding to lead to a cardiac arrest,” Dr. Langenfeld said in court.

“Based on the history that was available to me, I felt that hypoxia was one of the more likely possibilities,” he added.” Hypoxia, the doctor later clarified, refers to “cardiac arrest meaning oxygen insufficiency.” Dr. Langenfeld said George Floyd received care for approximately 30 minutes before being pronounced dead by the physician. 

Chauvin’s defense team said in its opening arguments that Floyd’s drug use was the cause of his death, not Chauvin’s knee in his neck for nearly ten minutes. 

For full trial recaps please click here.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo also testified in court today (April 5). In his hours-long testimony, Chief Arradondo provided a thorough review of Minneapolis police use of force policy, and gave the court a rundown of what actions he took upon learning about the interaction outside of Cup Foods involving Chauvin, three other officers, and George Floyd. 

Arradondo said officers in his department are trained in de-escalation tactics and remarked that people in police custody “have rights.” 

“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force,” he said. 

In the immediate aftermath of Floyd’s murder, Chief Arradondo fired Chauvin and three other officers and publicly released a statement calling the incident “murder.” 

The police chief also said that officers are trained to give medical aid to people in need, something which the prosecution has repeatedly noted Chauvin nor the other officers didn’t do while arresting Floyd. 

Attorneys had the chief read police policy for the record and agreed that what Chauvin did was in violation of that policy. “The conscious neck restraint by policy mentions light to moderate pressure. When I look at exhibit 17 and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure,” Arradondo testified. 

 “Sanctity of life and the protection of the public shall be the cornerstones of the MPD’s use of force policy,” Arradondo read. “While it is absolutely imperative that our officers go home at the end of their shift, we want to make sure and ensure that our community members go home, too. And so sanctity of life is absolutely vital that that is the pillar for our use of force,” he said. 

The police chief also told the jury that officers are supposed to assess the level of force needed and then keep assessing to make sure it’s appropriate throughout an interaction with someone.

Arrandondo said that he was at home when he got the call that officers “had responded to 38th and Chicago. And while attempting to take someone into custody, that which I learned now to be Mr. Floyd, they believe he would not make it or survive.” 

The chief contacted the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in alignment with protocols, before alerting Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Arradondo went to city hall, he said to review video footage of what happened. He said he watched multiple videos and was prompted to watch bystander video after someone in the community asked him “have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?” 

In the last hour of court, today, the state called Minneapolis Police Commander Katie Blackwell. Commander Blackwell is in charge of training in the department and is offering a picture of what kind of training Chauvin received. 

Commander Blackwell testified that Chauvin’s knee in his neck is not a part of Minneapolis police training. “It’s not what we train,” she said during the proceedings after looking at a still from the bystander video that shows Chauvin putting his knee into Floyd’s neck. 

The trial is set to resume Tuesday morning (April 6). According to CNN, the man who was in the car with Floyd when police officers approach is set to take the stand.

What People Are Saying Online 

Watching the trial, taking in traumatic moments may be difficult as video is played and replayed and verbally described.

A few resources that may aid in processing the trial are below:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness1-800-950-6264

The Association of Black Psychologists1-301-449-3082

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America1-240-485-1001

The resources listed have resources including peer groups and other counseling services that may be helpful. They also offer ways to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions that are important to monitor.

The Black Information Network's trial-related content includes a nightly news special, titled "Searching for Justice for George Floyd," that airs at 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday on all BIN 24/7 affiliates. Emmy Award-winning journalistVanessa Tylerwill anchor the daily 30-minute commercial-free recap of that day's testimony.

Additionally, BIN's Morgyn Woodwill anchor live coverage of the trial on our Minneapolis affiliate BIN 93.3 FM. Tune in to Black Information Network 24/7's coverage on 31 Black Information Network affiliate stations and on the iHeartRadio app. Frequent updates and breaking news will also air on all 92 iHeartMedia Hip Hop, R&B, and Gospel music stations.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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