George Floyd death: Trial for 3 former Minneapolis cops delayed pending federal case, judge rules

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A Minnesota judge has granted motions from both sides to push back the trial for three former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd, court papers show. 

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter A. Cahill has approved requests from the prosecution and defense to delay the March 7 trial for former cops Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, who face state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter

In granting the order, Cahill instructed both sides to meet by Saturday to decide and agree upon a new trial date. He also ordered them to expect to set aside three weeks for jury selection and five weeks for the rest of the trial. 

This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, shows from left, former Minneapolis police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.  (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP File)

Cahill said he would allow any trial date between March 14, 2022, and Jan. 9, 2023. If the parties could not agree, he said, the original trial date would remain and proceedings would be pushed back on a day-by-day basis as needed.

The prosecution and defense filed the joint motion on Friday to delay proceedings until the officers’ federal court case, which is expected to start on Jan. 20, could play out. 

“It is not known how long that trial will last,” the Jan. 7 joint motion states. 

Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25, 2020, when ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee against Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds as he was handcuffed and face-down. Floyd, 46, could be heard in now-viral video shouting that he could not breathe before becoming unresponsive.

Chauvin was convicted of state charges in April 2021. He pleaded guilty last month to a federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights. 

Lane, Kueng and Thao are charged federally with depriving Floyd of his civil and constitutional rights while serving under the authority of the government, and depriving him of his medical needs despite that he was “in clear need of” aid. Thao and Kueng are also charged with failing “to stop Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force,” the U.S. Justice Department said in May. 

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