Court Battles

Prosecutors seek delay in trial over George Floyd’s death, citing coronavirus

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Prosecutors in the case against four Minneapolis police officers involved in the May death of George Floyd requested this week that the trial be delayed by three months due to concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

As reported by the Star Tribune, the attorneys filed a motion to move the trial start date from March 8 to to June 7, arguing that this “appropriately balances the need to protect public health with the need to ensure that this case is resolved expeditiously.”

The prosecutors added in their legal filing that moving the date “would substantially reduce the risks to trial participants from COVID-19, and thereby reduce the risk that this trial is delayed or disrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak among the trial participants.”

Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are scheduled to be tried together. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, while the others are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

While Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, told the Star Tribune that he does not plan on objecting to the prosecution’s motion, Keung’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, said he was confused by the prosecutors citing COVID-19 as their reasoning. 

“The timing of their motion seems curious to me,” Plunkett said. “The pandemic has been around for a while.”

The Tribune reported that Thao’s lawyer, Robert Paule, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The four now-fired police officers were charged after the May 25 incident in which Floyd was killed after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

The event, which was captured on camera and spread on social media, rocked the nation, fueling months of social unrest and protests against police brutality in Minneapolis and other cities. 

Protests once again broke out in Minneapolis this week after local police fatally shot a man during a traffic stop Wednesday evening. 

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a press conference that the man, later identified as 23-year-old Dolal Idd, fired first. 

Protesters were later seen congregating near the scene of the shooting, throwing snowballs and chanting at police officers in the area.

Police on Thursday released body cam footage from the shooting, appearing to confirm the account of the encounter given by authorities.

Tags anti-police brutality coronavirus covid-19 deaths in police custody Derek Chauvin George Floyd J. Alexander Kueng Minneapolis police brutality police brutality protests police killings racial justice protests star tribune Thomas Lane Tou Thao

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