Minneapolis police chief: George Floyd's death was not due to lack of training, it was murder

Medaria Arradondo issued a blunt statement on Monday evening.
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Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo has issued a lengthy statement in which he said George Floyd's death wasn't the result of deficient training, but due to murder.

The chief issued a lengthy statement late Monday evening in response to data requests relating to the MPD's training since a 2013 settlement in the death of David Smith, who died in 2010 after being Tasered and then held face down by police officers for several minutes.

Arradondo said that MPD fulfilled all its obligations as part of the settlement as part of the training to prevent "positional asphyxiation," and this was "hammered into all our officers," including former officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa, who underwent the training.

Chauvin has been charged with 2nd-degree murder and Thoa 2nd-degree aiding and abetting murder along with two other former officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.

Arradondo was blunt about what caused the 46-year-old Floyd's death.

"Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training—the training was there. Chauvin knew what he was doing. I agree with Attorney General [Keith] Ellison: what happened to Mr. Floyd was murder.

"Chauvin had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over seven minutes, and for those last minutes he knew that Floyd was non-responsive. Mr. Floyd shouted out that he couldn’t breathe; bystanders shouted out that Mr. Floyd had stopped talking; then they shouted out that Mr. Floyd had become non-responsive; and finally they shouted out that Mr. Floyd was dying.

"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. 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. This is why I took swift action regarding the involved officers’ employment with MPD."

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Arradondo says MPD "went beyond the requirements" of the Davis settlement as it pertained to training that covered "getting an arrestee from a prone position into a recovery position ... where the maximal restraint technique or a neck restraint has been used."

"The reason for getting an arrestee into a recovery position is to prevent positional asphyxiation, and the training covered situations where positional asphyxiation is of primary concern," he added.

Arradondo also said that the MPD policy had changed in 2014 so that it "explicitly requires 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."

In the wake of Floyd's killing, a ban on neck restraints and chokeholds has been implemented by MPD and Mayor Jacob Frey – a requirement demanded by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which is suing the police department for potential civil rights violations.

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