Derek Chauvin 'knew what he was doing' because he was trained to prevent suffocation, says top cop: 'This was murder'

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo characterizes George Floyd's death as 'murder' for the first time and said officers involved had training on preventing suffocation

                            Derek Chauvin 'knew what he was doing' because he was trained to prevent suffocation, says top cop: 'This was murder'
Derek Chauvin had undergone specific training on preventing "positional asphyxiation" or suffocation (Twitter/Police mugshot)

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says that George Floyd's death was a "murder." Arradondo also said that Derek Chauvin, the then-cop responsible for digging his knee into the neck of George Floyd "knew what he was doing" as he had undergone specific training on preventing "positional asphyxiation" or suffocation. Arradondo released a statement where he said, "Mr George Floyd's tragic death was not due to a lack of training -- the training was there. Chauvin knew what he was doing."

"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," he continued. Former officers Chauvin and Tou Thao, who were involved in Floyd's killing, had both received department training on preventing "positional asphyxiation" or suffocation, with people who are being restrained in a face-down position, the Minneapolis Department confirmed to CNN. 

An estimated 10,000 people gather in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza Park for a memorial service for George Floyd, the man killed by a Minneapolis police officer on June 04, 2020, in New York City (Getty Images) 

On late Tuesday night (June 23), Arradondo had released a statement as a response to training records questions and also a data request from the Star Tribune as to whether the Minneapolis Police Department had been keeping up with a 2013 settlement that required all officers to go through training on the dangers of positional asphyxiation. In the statement, Arradondo said that the Minneapolis Police Department "went beyond the requirements" of the settlement. They had provided adequate training on the subject and also changed its policies in 2014 to "explicitly require moving an arrestee from a prone position to a recovery position when the maximal restraint technique is used and require continuous monitoring of an arrestee's condition." 

Floyd, who was restrained for allegedly trying to use a forged $20 note, had repeatedly told the officers that he couldn't breathe but none of them moved. 34-year-old Thao stood on the side and ordered bystanders to maintain their distance and stay away as Floyd lost consciousness, and eventually died in a video that went viral and sparked nationwide outrage and protests. Arradondo had also said that bystanders had also "shouted out" to officers that Floyd had stopped communicating and had later also said that he was non-responsive while Chauvin was restraining him, NY Post reports. "Further, one of the officers on the scene told Chauvin that Mr Floyd should be put into a recovery position and he eventually told Chauvin that he could not find Mr Floyd’s pulse," Arradondo said. 

 In this handout provided by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the death of George Floyd (Getty Images) 

According to the Star Tribune, the recent statement is believed to be the first where the Minneapolis Police Chief has characterized Floyd's death as murder. We had earlier reported that Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but had his charges upped to second-degree murder and manslaughter. The other three now-former officers, Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng, involved in the killing of Floyd were charged with aiding and abetting murder. According to the lawyer for the Floyd family, Benjamin Crump, "Beyond doubt, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body by two other officers. The ambulance was his hearse."

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