Louisiana cop blames Derek Chauvin's 'poor technique' for George Floyd's death: 'It's a common mistake'
Even as Minneapolis riots over the disturbing death of George Floyd, one police officer has controversially claimed that the 46-year-old's death was the result of a "common mistake and poor technique" and suggested he may have had drugs in his system. We had previously reported how Floyd had died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had knelt on his neck for several minutes even as he begged to be let go because he couldn't breathe.
"Please," he could be heard pleading in a now-viral video that has been viewed millions of times. "Please, please I can't breathe." Chauvin had been unmoved and even seemed to taunt witnesses who asked him to go easy on Floyd. Around four minutes into the video, Floyd loses consciousness and then becomes unresponsive. He was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance but could not be saved and was declared dead.
While Chauvin's actions have been widely condemned, Shreveport Police Sgt. Brent Mason appeared to throw his support behind his fellow officer. Mason, who has reportedly been in the force for two and half decades and training for almost half that time said Floyd's death had to do with a lack of technique and that Chauvin and the other three officers involved in the incident did not deserve to be fired. He also said they should not be charged with murder, which many protestors have called for.
"I have been training police for over 12 years now and with more than 25 years of service… this is a common mistake and poor technique often made by police officers," he wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. "The knee is not supposed to go across the nape of the neck. Most common when the suspect is assisting by bucking or bridging. The knee had to [be] angled across the shoulder blades during handcuffing."
He went on to suggest, without evidence, that Floyd may have had a health condition that put him at a higher risk of dying because of the technique, and that could have died of delirium — a condition common in men with a history of mental illness and drug abuse. "This was a mistake or misstep not an act of murder," he continued. "Normally this mistake does not result in death. The cause of death will be more likely to be positional asphyxia or excited delirium. This individual more than likely had health conditions and toxins in his blood. (no report yet."
"I feel that the Minneapolis Police Department jumped the gun by arresting and firing the 4 officers. Wow… where is the innocent until proven guilty!!?? Minnesota??" Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins and Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond confirmed at a press conference that they had both spoken to Mason after they were made aware of the post, reported the Daily Mail. They said they had asked him to take it down while they reviewed their social media policy to check if he had broken any rules.
Raymond, however, admitted the video of Floyd's death was "disturbing" and that he had not seen an officer use such deadly force under normal circumstances. "I was an instructor at our police academy and taught the use of force and defensive tactics as part of my daily duties during that time," he said. "I've never been taught, nor do I believe, that placing the knee on the back of somebody's neck for an extended period of time is an acceptable or justifiable use of force, except in the instance of deadly force."
He added that the Minneapolis officers' actions were "insensitive" and "completely unacceptable." "Not only was the duty absent in their actions but also an element of humanity was lacking," he said. "To hear somebody cry out for help and say they can't breathe and keep the knee on the back of someone's neck for over five minutes is painful to watch."