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Officers in George Floyd's death appear in court, motion for separate trials

Officers in George Floyd's death appear in court, motion for separate trials
© Getty Images

The four former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the killing of George Floyd at the end of May appeared in the Hennepin County courthouse on Friday for a pretrial hearing, with attorneys on both sides of the case representing multiple motions.

Attorneys representing Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — the officers in question — had all filed motions requesting the charges against their clients be dismissed.

Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for well over eight minutes, leading to his death, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter as well as third-degree murder.

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Kueng, Lane and Thao are each charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. They have posted bail and are currently not in custody, while Chauvin is being held at a Minnesota state prison.

Judge Peter Cahill said that he would not rule on dismissing the charges today and also delayed ruling on motions from the defendants to change the location of the trial away from Hennepin County.

Another defendant request that was not decided on was whether the officers would be tried together or separately. The prosecution, made up of lead attorney Matt Frank, state Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonDerek Chauvin allowed to establish residency outside of Minnesota while awaiting trial in George Floyd case Officers in George Floyd's death appear in court, motion for separate trials Ex-Minneapolis officer involved in Floyd death asks judge to dismiss murder charge MORE (D) and former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal (D), are in vehement opposition to the officers being tried separately, filing their own motion that detailed why the defendants should all stand trial together.

The most notable action that Cahill took during the 3 1/2 hour hearing was to ban Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and his staff from working on the case.

First reported by local stations WCCO and KARE, Cahill reportedly said that Freeman and his office were “sloppy” in their investigative work by sending prosecutors to question the medical examiner who conducted Floyd’s autopsy, making them witnesses in the case.

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Freeman and company can still be called to testify by both the defense and prosecution, but are prohibited from working the case as lawyers.

Cahill also rejected a request from the defense to use Floyd’s 2004 arrest in Texas as evidence and also said that the traffic stop of Floyd in 2019 was inadmissible at this time, but that he might reconsider closer to the trial date.

The judge reportedly said that he still anticipates the start date of the trial to be March 8, 2021, regardless if the officers are tried together or separately.

Floyd's death at the end of May sparked a summer of nationwide protests and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.