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Trial Date for Ex-Minneapolis Officers Involved in George Floyd's Death Set for March 2021
In a pretrial hearing, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill threatened to change the location of the March 2021 case.
The judge presiding over the trial of the four Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd has indicated that the trial will begin on March 8, 2021. According to CNN, the case may take place outside of the city.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill threatened the change of location at a pretrial hearing for Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Keung, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane on Monday, June 29th.
During a portion of the hearing, defense attorneys for the former officers alleged public comments made about the state's criminal investigation by government officials following the arrest of the cops could lead to them not having a fair trial. Donald Trump and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz have made public comments. Additionally, the lawyers claimed Floyd's legal team had "leaked information to the press."
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Floyd's family shared the following statement to CNN to address these claims: “I don’t believe anybody on our legal team has leaked any information," he said. On CNN's Erin Burnett Outfront he also added: "The truth of the matter is that there is so much information that has been divulged on this case that everybody, Erin, you all at CNN and all the other media companies are trying to get information. It is important to be transparent. If you’re not transparent, and we don’t have accountability, we continue to have mistrust. ... At the end of the day, I’m sorry, Black people are losing our lives and everybody else is trying to play technicalities. No, we can’t accept that.”
Judge Cahill made it clear he did not want attorneys or officials to make comments about "the merits of the case, possible evidence, or guilt or innocence" publicly. He also stated September 11 as a target date for another hearing.
Derek Chauvin's bail was recently set at $1.25 million or $1 million under certain conditions. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. The other three cops have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in addition to aiding and abetting manslaughter per The Root. Chauvin and Thao are still currently in custody. Lane and Keung have been released on conditional bond.
On May 29, John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced that Derek Chauvin has been taken into custody in connection with the May 25 death.
Chauvin is the officer seen in the viral video kneeling on Floyd's neck. He was later pronounced dead of a "medical incident." Following the incident, the Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin, as well as the three other officers involved in Floyd's in-custody incident — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. Chauvin was the subject of 12 conduct complaints during his 19-year career. Despite the number of complaints, his superior officers never disciplined him.
Recently, the U.S. Justice Department said they were going to launch a federal investigation into Floyd's death. In a statement, U.S. Attorney Erica Macdonald and FBI Special Agent In Charge Rainer Drolshagen said they were going to launch a “robust criminal investigation” into Floyd’s death. They called the investigation a “top priority.”
“Upon conclusion of the FBI’s investigation,” the statement reads, “the U.S. Attorney’s Office will determine whether federal criminal charges are supported by the evidence. If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought.”
On Wednesday, multiple sources confirmed Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upgraded Chauvin's charges to 2nd-degree murder. Additionally, Ellison decided to charge the other three officers at the scene as well.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng will be charged with aiding and abetting Floyd's murder. Chauvin's bail has since been set at $1.25 million according to the Star Tribune. The bail was set during his first court appearance on Monday (June 8), which was done by video feed.
This article was originally published on June 17, 2020. It was updated on July 2.