EXCLUSIVE: Expert witness in Derek Chauvin trial says ‘politics ruled the justice system’

Barry Brodd said he does not believe the four officers convicted in George Floyd’s death received a fair trial and urged the public and the Supreme Court to reexamine the evidence. 

Use-of-force expert Barry Brodd talks with Alpha News reporter Liz Collin over the phone. (Alpha News)

Use-of-force expert Barry Brodd, who took the stand in Derek Chauvin’s defense, has never spoken publicly since the trial until now.

The following is a transcript of his interview with Alpha News, edited for clarity and length.

LIZ COLLIN: This is a phone interview. You didn’t want your face out there again, understandable, since pig’s blood was smeared on your ex-wife’s home and a pig’s head was left on the front porch. But what kinds of intimidation and consequences have you faced since being an expert witness in Derek Chauvin’s trial?

BARRY BRODD: So, it amazed me how quickly people can access our own personal information. My phone was off in my briefcase. As soon as I step off the stand and go outside the courtroom, I’m going to sit where Derek is sitting in a vacant courtroom. I turned my phone on and there’s literally 50 to 60 text messages. ‘I must be a wife abuser.’ You know, I must promote, you know, police officers murdering suspects. I mean, on and on and on. And that literally went from 50 to 60 initially to hundreds.

Pig’s blood was smeared on the front porch of Brodd’s ex-wife’s home. (Santa Rosa Police Department)

COLLIN: It happened that quickly?

BRODD: I mean, literally as soon as I walked out of the courtroom, Derek goes through a side door, we’re sitting in this vacant courtroom or what had been our meeting place. And I turn my phone on, and there’s 50 or 60 right there. And then I look at my email and there’s probably 100 to 150 emails. I anticipated some blowback. I didn’t anticipate it to that level.

COLLIN: You’re a former defensive tactics trainer, a police officer with more than 30 years of experience, and you testified that Chauvin’s actions were justified.

BRODD: And I still think it’s justified. Because I had access to the evidence. I saw the training manual, where they were dealing with emotionally-disturbed persons. In that picture in the MPD training file, the role-player’s knee was directly on the suspect’s neck. And as I was going through my cross-examination during the trial, instead of showing me the video, instead of showing me the officers’ body cams, he’s showing me snapshots of the cellphone video. In his one snapshot, and he’s hammering me, ‘Can’t you see right there that Chauvin’s knee is on his neck?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve looked at the entire video and the fact that Floyd was resisting to that level. I saw on the video that Chauvin lost his balance. His knee may have been on Floyd’s neck for a millisecond until he regained his balance and slid his knee back down where he was trained to put it in between the neck and shoulder blades.’

In my mind, the officers followed policy. They did what they had to do to overcome Floyd’s resistance. It’s tragic that he died, but I think his death wasn’t caused by the officers. It was caused by his own actions and failure to comply.

That was something that I had mentioned to Mr. Nelson that leading up to the trial, let us do an in-court demonstration of the position Floyd was in. Somebody bigger than Derek Chauvin can put me in that exact same position based upon the video, and we can lay there for countless minutes, and I’m not going to be dying of a heart issue. I never talked to Derek about that. I never got any feedback from Eric about it. So, I don’t know if it went anywhere. I don’t know the answer to that. I know I wasn’t allowed to do it.

COLLIN: It seems like Derek Chauvin was found guilty long before the trial even started … You were there. You testified in that courtroom. From your perspective, did Chauvin get a fair trial? Did any of these four officers get a fair trial?

BRODD: In my opinion, absolutely not. Just going into the voir dire of the jurors, they’re walking into a courthouse that they may have been in on prior occasions to handle court business or filing licenses, permits, etc. Here now they find, you know, Humvees, National Guard surrounding the courthouse, sand in bags, barbed wire, extraordinary security measures.

Here you’re a juror hoping that you don’t get selected for this jury. And in the event that you do, looking at, before the trial even starts, the security measures that have been put in place, all the riots that had happened up to that date. How could a juror have that extraordinary courage to find Derek Chauvin innocent and possibly suffer the ramifications of ‘OK, I’m, I’m safe in the courthouse but I’m not safe outside. And yes, I have sympathy for officer Chauvin, but I’m not going to sacrifice my life for him?’

COLLIN: It’s been nearly four years since May 25, 2020. What do you think should happen now?

Barry Brodd testifies during Derek Chauvin’s April 2021 trial. (YouTube screenshot)

BRODD: I think that people should re-look at the evidence. The Supreme Court should look at the trial conduct of Judge [Peter] Cahill. What was the rationale for not allowing this evidence? The judge is that umpire, that referee in the courtroom that is supposed to be there for the people — for the defense, for the prosecution — and make unbiased rulings based upon their knowledge of the law and unfortunately, I don’t think Judge Cahill did that in this case.

You have various Minneapolis police command staff, either not knowing policy, and let that policy be explored and exposed. ‘Well, chief, you know, or former chief, you’ve testified that the MRT is not a technique here. Here it’s in your training manual.’ You have, after the fact, training officers testifying that the hundreds of officers they’ve trained have been trained in the very technique that these officers did on Mr. Floyd. How can you testify to that? Did you make a mistake? I think the story just got so big with pretrial publicity, you know, the settlement from the city of Minneapolis to the Floyd family before the trial even starts. So to me, that would be an automatic assumption of guilt if I was a juror.

COLLIN: It sounds like you still think of these four officers every day.

BRODD: How can you not? As a police officer we believe in the justice system. When for political reasons the justice system fails, it’s a strike against all police officers who are trying to do the right thing. You present your case, you get your evidence, you get witness statements, you get suspect interviews, you present to a district attorney. If it goes to a jury and the jury finds the suspect not guilty, I take that because I didn’t do my job well enough. In this case where so much relevant evidence wasn’t introduced, it’s detrimental to our justice system that in this case politics ruled the justice system and that’s not the way it should be.


Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.