By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer with the Minneapolis Police Department and long-time head of the homicide unit, testified in the Derek Chauvin trial on Friday, saying that the use of force used on George Floyd was “totally unnecessary.”

Zimmerman, who has been with MPD since 1985, said police are required to provide medical assistance to people who are in distress until paramedics can arrive. He said the threat level of a suspect is definitely lowered once they are in handcuffs.

READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial, April 13: Defense's Expert Witness Says Use Of Force Against George Floyd 'Justified'

“Have you in all the years that you have been on the Minneapolis Police Department, ever been trained to kneel on the neck of someone who has been handcuffed behind their back who is in the prone position?” Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked him.

“No, I have not,” Zimmerman replied.

“Is that, if that were done, would that be considered force?”

“Absolutely,” Zimmerman confirmed.

“What level of force?”

“That would be the top-tier deadly force,” Zimmerman said.


“Because of the fact that if your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them,” Zimmerman said.

When Floyd was on the ground, he said the use of force was unnecessary, elaborating that putting a knee on a neck for an extended period of time is “uncalled for.”

“I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt,” he said. “That’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.”

Zimmerman was the second MPD officer to testify that Chauvin’s use of force on George Floyd was excessive. On Thursday, retired MPD sergeant David Pleoger, the supervisor on duty the night of Floyd’s death, said that officers could have ended their restraint “when Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance.”

The defense went on the attack trying to discredit Zimmerman’s knowledge of current training, asking him to confirm that he’s not a trainer in the Minneapolis Police Academy on the use of force, which he agreed with.

Zimmerman, as well as Sgt. Jon Edwards, who also testified on Friday, confirmed that control of the investigation was transferred over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension after they were told that Floyd died. Edwards also said that Minneapolis police were assisting them in trying to find witnesses and evidence.

George Floyd’s brother Philonise was in the courtroom Friday. He told the pool reporter that he and other members of the Floyd family can not stop crying as they hear the ongoing testimony in this case.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is also expected to testify in the coming days.

MORE NEWS: Prosecution Rests, Defense Begins To Present Its Case In Derek Chauvin Trial

Esme Murphy