Federal Criminal Trial for Killing of George Floyd: Other Witnesses for Defendant J. Alexander Kueng
A prior post reviewed the testimony of Defendant J. Alexander Kueng. Here are summaries of the other witnesses he put forward.1
Joni Kueng. The first witness for Kueng was his mother, Joni Kueng, who testified briefly that he had played the peacemaker among the family siblings.
Steve Ijames, a use-of-force instructor and a retired assistant police chief in Springfield, Missouri, as a defense expert, testified that MPD’s training on an officer’s duty to intervene to stop other officers from using excessive force was ineffective because it relied too heavily on lectures instead of hands-on training and testing to ensure that trainees learned the right lessons. Indeed, such training must emphasize demonstrations and testing to ensure that the attendees absorbed the subject matter. “Just because you sat through a class doesn’t mean you learned anything.”
Ijames, however, testified that Chauvin’s continued force after Floyd stopped fighting was unreasonable “beyond question.” But according to Ijames, Kueng lacked the training and experience to recognize that inappropriate use of force and thus it made sense for Chauvin to defer to Chauvin. However, Ijames admitted that it was conceivable that Kueng could have walked around and checked Floyd’s neck without moving or disturbing Chauvin.
Gary Nelson, a retired MPD lieutenant and field training officer, testified that it made sense for the other officers to let Chauvin take charge of the scene, especially since Kuenig and Thomas Lane were rookies. “Somebody needs to be in charge” and there isn’t always time to deliberate.
However, under cross examination, Nelson agreed that officers are not obligated to follow clearly unlawful orders and that they are accountable for their actions and inactions.
- Mannix & Olson, Kueng testifies of attempting to place Floyd in squad: “I felt like I had no control,’ StarTribune (Feb. 16, 2022); Karnowski & Webber, Prosecutors question officer in Floyd killing about training, AP News (Feb. 17, 2022); Mannix & Olson, Kueng says he didn’t see ‘serious medical need’ when George Floyd fell unresponsive, StarTribune (Feb. 17, 2022).