Judge in George Floyd case tells attorneys, officials, family to limit public statements

Judge in George Floyd case tells attorneys, officials, family to limit public statements
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A Minnesota judge for the case of four former police officers charged in the death of George Floyd’s instructed the involved attorneys, officials and family members to limit their public statements ahead of the trials.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill did not issue an official gag order preventing both sides’ attorneys from speaking publicly on the case. But he warned that if public statements continue, he will likely grant any request to move the trial outside of Minneapolis to form an objective jury, The Associated Press reported

“The court is not going to be happy about hearing comments on these three areas: merits, evidence and guilt or innocence,” the judge said.

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Cahill requested Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank use his position to keep officials quiet, saying if they continue to speak out, he would likely “have to pull (the trials) out of Hennepin County and they need to be aware of that.” 

The judge also clarified that defense attorneys and Floyd’s family members should refrain from making public statements.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D), Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota lawmakers blast pharmaceutical industry lawsuit over insulin affordability law Judge in George Floyd case tells attorneys, officials, family to limit public statements Internal watchdog investigating if Air Force improperly used plane to surveil protests: report MORE (D) and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have called Floyd’s death a “murder” publicly. 

The judge set a March 8 trial date for the former officers if they are tried together. 

Cahill also rejected the defense’s request to reconsider his previous decision to ban cameras from pretrial proceedings. He has not decided on whether cameras will be permitted for the trials themselves.

Former officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged within unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Video showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as Floyd said he couldn't breathe.

Thomas Lane, 37, J. Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, were charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin in murder. Chauvin and Thao are still in custody, while Lane and Kueng are free on bond.

Floyd's death sparked a series of protests across the country calling for police reform after instances of brutality against Black people.