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Chauvin Trial: Defense Use-of-Force Expert Witness Barry Brodd

Chauvin Trial: Defense Use-of-Force Expert Witness Barry Brodd

In addition to all those medical experts the defense also plans to call an expert on use of force generally and the Minneapolis Policies and Procedures for use of force in particular.

Welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Minnesota murder trial of Derek Chauvin, over the in-custody death of George Floyd.  I am Attorney Andrew Branca for Law of Self Defense, providing guest commentary and analysis of this trial for Legal Insurrection.

Back on January 26 the defense for Derek Chauvin notified the court and the state prosecutors of a number of expert witnesses it plans to have testify for the defense at trial.  These included a number of medical expert witnesses, including a forensic pathologist, a forensic toxicologist, a forensic psychiatrist, and an expert physician in emergency medicine.

In addition to all those medical experts the defense also planned to call an expert on use of force generally and the Minneapolis Policies and Procedures for use of force in particular.  That expert is Barry Brodd, out of Bozeman MT. (A copy of Mr. Brodd’s resume, with contact information obscured, is embedded below.)

I’ve no personal experience with Mr. Brodd, but I do know that he was the use-of-force expert witness for the defense in the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the then Chicago Police Officer who would ultimately be convicted of murder and sentenced to just under seven years for the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014, when police confronted McDonald as he was wandering erratically down the street wielding a knife.

My point here is not to dive into the Van Dyke/McDonald case, but if you’d like to see some of our analysis on that case you can find it here:

Laquan McDonald Video Not Dispositive of Police Criminal Misconduct (Nov. 25, 2015)

No Surprise: Police Shooter of Laquan McDonald Convicted (Oct. 8, 2018)

I mention the Van Dyke/McDonald case here because I’ve obtained video of the expert testimony of Mr. Brodd in that case for the defense, and though it might interest folks to get a sense of how he presents as an expert in court.

This video of Brodd’s testimony at the Van Dyke trial is a bit under 30 minutes in length.  The more interesting portion of the direct testimony (questioning by the defense) begins after Brodd has recited his qualifications and been recognized by the court as an expert in use-of-force [at about 06:00].  At that point he begins sharing with the court his expert opinion on whether Van Dyke’s shooting of McDonald was legally justified.

Perhaps the most interesting portion of that direct testimony is at about 12:23 when there is an in court demonstration of the Tueller Drill, using a rubber knife with Brodd as the aggressor and defense counsel as the victim, at a measured distance of 13 feet, the distance at which Van Dyke shot McDonald.

Then at [15:10] we have a very aggressive cross-examination by the prosecutor, followed by a re-direct by the defense and a re-cross by the state.

There’s nothing all that noteworthy from my perspective about this testimony in the Van Dyke trial, either the direct, the demonstration, or the cross, but having found this testimony video of the use-of-force expert chosen by the Chauvin defense team, I thought you all might be interested in having a preview peek at that defense expert.

And here’s that video of Barry Broddy, use-of-force expert witness, testifying at the murder trial of Jason Van Dyke:

Until next time, stay safe!


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

Attorney Andrew F. Branca’s legal practice has specialized exclusively in use-of-force law for thirty years.  Andrew provides use-of-force legal consultancy services to attorneys across the country, as well as near-daily use-of-force law insight, expertise, and education to lawyers and non-lawyers alike in the form of blog posts, video, and podcasts, through the Law of Self Defense Membership service.  If this kind of content is of interest to you, try out our two-week Membership trial for a mere 99 cents, with a 200% no-question- asked money-back guarantee, here:  Law of Self Defense Membership Trial.

As promised, here’s a copy of Mr. Brodd’s resume:

Barry Brodd Resume No Contact by Law of Self Defense on Scribd

[Featured image is a screen capture from video of Mr. Brodd’s testimony in Illinois v. Van Dyke.]






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For anyone interested in response-to-threat time, there’s an informative training video here:

    OldProf2 in reply to Brian. | March 26, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Excellent video!

    Sally MJ in reply to Brian. | March 27, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    Wow, excellent video, and only 3 minutes. It says officers really need 21 feet between them and the suspect with a knife, to be able to subdue the suspect and prevent the officer from becoming a stabbing victim.

    In the Jacob Blake case, the officer had only 2 feet between himself and the open blade I hope the defense shows something like this.

    Does anyone know if you can have defense experts in a civil trial? Or just a lawyer or lawyers?

      Andy in reply to Sally MJ. | March 27, 2021 at 4:53 pm

      Knives are enigmatic. When you think about an officer who SHOULD be cheating the draw on a side arm, the response time to first shot fired should be under 1 second (condition red, hand already positioned on weapon). That first shot may not hit the “off button.” So you’ve got person who doesn’t mind being dead using their last spasm of life trying to take you out and your tool set is not fool proof in stopping that threat.

      Even for guys who train hand to hand a lot, a perp in excited delirium with a knife is a losing engagement.

      Brian in reply to Sally MJ. | March 27, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      I can’t answer your question, but cops know that shooting a person seldom goes down the way movie shootings do.

      Here’s a video of an actual shooting, with analysis. The cop — a woman — and faces a terrifying situation very well: shoot until the threat is neutralized. (She did let her attacker get too close to her.)

Paul In Sweden | March 27, 2021 at 10:39 pm

So what I am hearing is that Chauvin is employing an expert with experience on a defense team that resulted in the conviction of the police officer. This is not giving me confidence.

I agree using expert witnesses on the use of force.

However, in this case, the defense needs to be careful on who they use as the use of force expert. The expert needs to be quite humble, he has to come across as caring for the victim.

In this case using Broddy as the expert is going to backfire big time. Even if Broddy is correct, his testimony comes across as quite arrogant which is going to alienate that jury pool.