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FILE - In this image from police body camera video shown as evidence in court, Minneapolis police officers attempt to place George Floyd in a police vehicle, on May 25, 2020, outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis. Former police Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are on trial in federal court accused of violating Floyd's civil rights as fellow Officer Derek Chauvin killed him. (Minneapolis Police Department via AP, File)

An attorney for one of the three former Minneapolis police officers on trial for allegedly violating George Floyd’s civil rights suggested Friday that the department’s training is inadequate when it comes to intervening when a colleague is using excessive force and that new recruits are told to obey their senior officers.

Federal prosecutors say former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao didn’t follow their training when they failed to act to save Floyd’s life on May 25, 2020, as fellow officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the Black man’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, facedown and gasping for air. Kueng kneeled on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.

Inspector Katie Blackwell, the police department’s former head of training, testified Friday that officers are trained that they have a duty to intervene to stop fellow officers from using unreasonable force. They are also trained on the use of neck restraints and that officers must provide follow-up care because the restraints can be dangerous. She said Kueng, Lane and Thao acted in a way that was “inconsistent” with the department’s policies.

But Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, pushed back, suggesting that it was the department that failed the officers.

Plunkett said department policy states that an officer is required to stop or attempt to stop another employee from using inappropriate force, pointing out that Blackwell left “attempt to stop” out of her prior testimony. He also said that when officers are trained in use-of-force scenarios, intervention is not taught.

FILE - In this image from police body camera video shown as evidence in court, paramedics arrive as Minneapolis police officers, including Derick Chauvin, second from left, and J. Alexander Kueng restrain George Floyd in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020. Former police Officers Tou Thao, Kueng and Thomas Lane are on trial in federal court accused of violating Floyd's civil rights as fellow Officer Derek Chauvin killed him. (Minneapolis Police Department via AP, File)FILE - In this image from video, Minneapolis Police Inspector Katie Blackwell testifies April 5, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin Minneapolis, Minn. Blackwell, the head of the Minneapolis Police Department's training division at the time of George Floyd's killing has testified that three officers on trial for allegedly violating Floyd's civil rights were trained to use the least amount of force necessary. Blackwell also said the officers had a duty to intervene to stop inappropriate force and to provide medical care. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

“There’s no intervention scenario, isn’t that correct?” Plunkett said.

“Not one exactly for intervention,” Blackwell said.

Plunkett got Blackwell to agree that recruits are taught that they should never argue with an instructor. Lane and Keung were rookies, while Chauvin was the most senior of the four officers at the scene that day.

During his opening statement, Plunkett noted that Chauvin was Kueng’s field training officer, and as such had “considerable sway” over his future. He also said Chauvin called “all of the shots” as the senior officer at the scene. On Friday. Plunkett said department policy would have called for Lane to be in charge at the scene, but Chauvin took over.

Blackwell, who was testifying for a second day, spent hours talking about policy and training. She said Thao took repeated refresher courses on use-of-force policies, including as recently as 2018 and 2019, and that Lane and Kueng had repeated lessons on the same subjects while attending the academy in 2019.

She said officers are taught that they have a duty to use the least amount of force necessary and must stop once the person is no longer resisting, then render any necessary medical aid they’re trained to provide until medical personnel arrive “to make sure that we do everything we can to save a person’s life.”

She also acknowledged that at some point Lane stopped holding Floyd’s legs and that Kueng did not have his knee on Floyd’s back the whole time, but said it is department policy that officers have a duty to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force.

Blackwell said she saw nothing that would have prevented Thao and Kueng from stopping Chauvin. And although police body camera video shows that Lane was rebuffed when he twice asked if they should roll Floyd onto his side — something Blackwell testified is critical — he still had a duty to intervene.

FILE - In this image from police body camera video shown as evidence in court, Minneapolis police Officers Thomas Lane, left, and J. Alexander Kueng, second from right, gather information as they take George Floyd into custody outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020. Former police Officers Tou Thao, Kueng and Lane are on trial in federal court accused of violating Floyd's civil rights as fellow Officer Derek Chauvin killed him. (Minneapolis Police Department via AP, File)FILE - This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on  June 3, 2020, shows, from left, former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. A state court trial for three former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd has been rescheduled for June 13, 2022, after both the defense and prosecutors requested a postponement.  (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

Plunkett noted that the department’s policy says officers can use their legs and arms to perform neck restraints, but that Blackwell testified that officers aren’t actually trained in using their legs to do them.

Officers had responded to a 911 call about Floyd, 46, trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store. Bystander cellphone video of the killing triggered worldwide protests and a reexamination of racism and policing.

Kueng, who is Black, Lane, who is white, and Thao, who is Hmong American, are charged with willfully depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights while acting under “color of law,” or government authority. One count against all three officers alleges that they saw that Floyd needed medical care and failed to help. A count against Thao and Kueng contends that they didn’t intervene to stop Chauvin. Both counts allege that the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death.

Prosecutors have argued that the “willful” standard can be met by showing “blatantly wrongful conduct” that deprived Floyd of his rights.

Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court last year, and he pleaded guilty in December to a federal civil rights charge. Lane, Kueng and Thao also face a separate state trial in June on charges alleging that they aided and abetted murder and manslaughter.

FILE - This image from video shows Minneapolis police Officers Thomas Lane, left and J. Alexander Kueng, right, escorting George Floyd, center, to a police vehicle outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020. Three former Minneapolis officers headed to trial this week on federal civil rights charges in the death of George Floyd aren't as familiar to most people as Derek Chauvin, a fellow officer who was convicted of murder last spring. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)FILE - In this image from surveillance video, Minneapolis police Officers from left, Tou Thao, Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are seen attempting to take George Floyd into custody in Minneapolis, Minn on May 25, 2020. Prosecutors played videos from the scene of Floyd's arrest Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 at the federal civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating Floyd's civil rights as fellow Officer Derek Chauvin killed him. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

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