LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) –Expert testimony was featured on day 3 in the trail against former LCPD officer Christopher Smelser about the correct use of vascular neck restraint more commonly known as a chokehold.
Wednesday’s testimony featured 3 witnesses including former director of the Las Cruces Police Academy Shane Briscoe
Briscoe demonstrated to the jury how a VNR should be properly applied if the situation arises. he explained that there is a correct way to apply it that includes proper chin alignment. He also demonstrated improper alignment which does not allow a gap between the chin and the neck which would allow the person to breathe if properly used.
Another common mistake is to the pull the head away from the neck which could cause injury and should be pushed forward to allow more control. When asked by the state how long an officer needs to hold the person in the vnr he explained how long and the dangers if the person in the restraint was in it excessively
“From the time that you decide to use that technique and have position the window is 40 seconds,”-Briscoe
“And what happens when you convey to the students if its longer that 40 seconds,”-Prosecution
“You run the risk the person won’t come out of unconsciousness.”- Briscoe
In a taped interrogation that was played between former officer Smelser and New Mexico State Police Sergeant William Mora – who was on the stand as well – Smelser explained that he did not have position when he was restraining Valenzuela since he was fighting to get away
The state rested its case and tomorrow, Smelser’s defense plans on filing a motion with the judge for a direct verdict which would dismiss the second-degree murder charges. if the motion is denied, the defense will proceed with its witnesses.
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