Ex-Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death to be tried separately, judge rules

The ruling got here after prosecutors and attorneys for Chauvin and Thao had requested the courtroom to delay the trial till summer time.

Prosecutors expressed concerns the trial may grow to be a coronavirus “superspreader event,” citing the massive variety of members and anticipated protests outdoors the courthouse. They had requested the judge to delay proceedings till June when extra of the inhabitants may need obtained the coronavirus vaccine.

Angela Harrelson, George Floyd’s aunt, displays on George Floyd’s struggles and the legacy he leaves behind. (The Washington Post)

Chauvin and Thao, via their attorneys, additionally requested for the trial to be pushed again, complaining that prosecutors had been gradual to flip over proof and gave them materials that was disorganized and riddled with technical points.

But throughout a hearing on the problem final week, Cahill appeared disinclined to grant the request, citing an already packed courtroom calendar. In a listening to held over Zoom, Cahill pressed prosecutors on why the logistics of the Floyd case have been totally different from every other pending case earlier than the courtroom, which has been conducting enterprise just about due to a coronavirus shutdown.

Cahill’s determination reverses a November ruling, in which he rejected protection motions to strive the defendants individually. In courtroom filings, the previous officers have sought to cast blame on one another, and protection attorneys have argued their antagonistic defenses put their proper to a good trial in danger.

But Cahill rejected that argument, saying the defendants’ defenses “will substantially overlap” and that separate trials would be complicated and place an “undue burden” on state prosecutors and the courtroom system.

In his scheduling order issued Tuesday, Cahill cited an e-mail he had obtained from Hennepin County District Court Judge Toddrick Barnette who met with prosecutors and protection attorneys in the case final week to talk about trial logistics and safety. According to an e-mail connected to Cahill’s ruling, Barnette, the chief judge in Hennepin County, stated he had been unaware of what number of attorneys and assist employees would be concerned in the trial and suggested that the designated courtroom was “not an adequate venue when enforcing social distancing.”

“I am not asking that you delay the trials,” Barnette wrote. “I’m only asking that you consider having less than all four defendants stand trial.”

In his ruling, Cahill stated Chauvin would be tried first on the unique courtroom date of March 8, with roughly three weeks of jury choice. Opening arguments, Cahill stated, “will begin no earlier than March 29.” His ruling particularly cited issues over coronavirus, rejecting arguments from Chauvin and Thao that prosecutors had been gradual to flip over proof. “The state has not acted in bad faith,” Cahill wrote, although he gave Chauvin’s legal professional further time to disclose deliberate witnesses.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose workplace is prosecuting the case, had pushed for a joint trial. In a press release Tuesday, Ellison stated he “respectfully disagreed” with the courtroom’s determination to strive the previous officers individually, suggesting a number of trials “may retraumatize eyewitnesses and family members” and taint subsequent jury swimming pools.

“It is also clear that covid-19 will still be a serious threat to public health in eight weeks’ time,” Ellison stated, including that prosecutors will nonetheless be ready to current their case.

Floyd died May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned facedown on a South Minneapolis road as police investigated a 911 name a few counterfeit $20 invoice that allegedly had been handed at a comfort retailer.

Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes because the 46-year-old Black man repeatedly stated he couldn’t breathe and in the end misplaced consciousness. Floyd was later pronounced useless at a hospital.

Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis power, was charged with second-degree homicide and manslaughter, whereas the opposite officers on the scene — Kueng, Lane and Thao — have been charged with aiding and abetting homicide. All 4 have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department.

The courtroom has already issued jury summons in the case, amid issues about whether or not the officers can be tried pretty in Minneapolis. The 16-page questionnaire, disclosed in courtroom information final month, asks respondents to disclose their views on police reform and Black Lives Matter and asks what number of occasions, if any, they seen the viral video of Floyd’s arrest.

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