“Torture” or an authorized tactic of “respect for pain”? The Bodycam video shows Agent Derek Chauvin squeezing George Floyd’s fingers.
MINNEAPOLIS – By repeatedly showing images of Derek Chauvin’s knee to George Floyd’s neck, prosecutors claimed Chauvin did not lift a finger to save Floyd’s life.
Wednesday’s testimony about what former Officer Chauvin did with Floyd’s fingers raised eyebrows.
LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, the prosecution’s use of force expert, circled an image of Chauvin’s hand holding Floyd’s fingers on Wednesday, telling jurors the officer “appeared to be trying to use pain on Mr. Floyd’s left hand ”.
When police body camera video first aired during the trial, social media exploded with questions about why Constable Derek Chauvin appeared to squeeze and flex Floyd’s fingers after he he has already been handcuffed and on the ground.
“Pain compliance is a technique officers use to get a subject to comply with their orders,” Stiger said.
“By complying, they are rewarded with reduced pain,” he explained.
In George Floyd’s case, however, Stiger said the video showed Chauvin kept his hand on the suspect’s fingers the entire time – even after Floyd went limp and officers couldn’t detect a pulse.
“It was an intentional act by Chauvin,” said attorney Jeff Storms. “It was torture!
Storms is part of the legal team representing the Floyd family. He is not part of the criminal trial, but says he studied body camera footage closely which shows Chauvin continued to shake hands with Floyd throughout the 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
“He’s capable of almost a type of bow and arrow to shoot George while pushing his knee harder – putting more force into George’s neck,” Storms explained.
“Do you think he was tortured? KARE asked 11.
“I think he was tortured,” Storm replied.
KARE 11 wanted an unbiased expert opinion. So we put the question to Jack Ryan, a seasoned police officer who now provides use of force training to police forces across the country.
Ryan said he does not recognize the grip as an authorized law enforcement technique. “It’s not the one I’ve seen used as a pressure point control tactic or as a pain-relieving technique,” he said.
Ryan is very critical of the extended knees left on Floyd’s neck and back. But he says it’s hard to tell from the video if what Chauvin was doing with Floyd’s hand was causing pain.
“Based on the video, it’s just very difficult to tell if the joint has been manipulated to the point of pain,” Ryan said.
The video shows Chauvin keeping his grip on Floyd’s folded and cuffed hand – until the limp man is loaded onto a stretcher.
A prosecutor asked Sgt. Stick to the goal an officer might have to maintain the hold.
“Would you inflict pain in order to make the subject obey your command?” He asked.
“Yes, obey,” Stiger replied.
“What if there is no possibility of compliance?” asked the prosecutor.
“Then at that point it’s just pain,” Stiger said.
In court, defense attorney Eric Nelson did not dispute Stiger’s testimony. During cross-examination, he did not ask any questions about Agent Chauvin’s hold on George Floyd’s hand.