September 22, 2021 08:05

Officers will be tried together, judge to allow cameras in courtroom for George Floyd trial

Rochelle Olson

Star Tribune

The four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd will be tried together in Hennepin County District Court, the judge on the case ruled Thursday.

Judge Peter Cahill said Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao will start trial on March 8 in the downtown Minneapolis courthouse, but he left open the possibility of reconsidering that decision.

In a handful of rulings, Cahill also said he would allow cameras in the courtroom and will sequester the jury for the trial that could take more than a month. The jurors will also remain anonymous for their safety.

Holding separate trials for the officers would be a burden on the eyewitnesses, the judge said. He cited the emotional toll, financial cost of traveling to testify and the danger of testifying during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact on eyewitnesses has greater import here where it appears at least two of the eyewitnesses watching the Defendants’ restraint of Floyd and his death are minors, whom the law deems to be particularly ‘vulnerable’,” the judge wrote in a 51-page memo detailing his decision.

Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day after police responded to a report of a counterfeit $20 bill at a south Minneapolis convenience store. Lane and Kueng arrived first at the scene, but Chauvin is the officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Thao kept the agitated crowd from intervening.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The others are charged with aiding and abetting him. All four are free on bail.

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