Court Battles

Prosecution witnesses in officers’ case say they worried George Floyd would die

Prosecutors at the trial of three former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd are making the case that bystanders knew he needed help while the officers held him down and prevented those nearby from intervening, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecution witness Charles McMillian was visibly emotional and cried while footage was shown to jurors at the trial of officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, according to the wire service.

In the video, McMillian was heard pleading with officers to let Floyd breathe.

“I knew something bad was going to happen to Mr. Floyd,” McMillian testified, according to the AP.

When asked by prosecutor Allen Slaughter what he meant by that, McMillian said, “That he was gonna die.” 

However, when questioned by the defense, McMillian acknowledged that he did not see or hear Lane asking if Floyd should be rolled onto his side and later doing chest compressions or Kueng saying that he couldn’t find a pulse, among other things, the AP reported. 

Another witness, Christopher Martin, 20, testified that he recorded roughly 30 seconds of video as bystanders were yelling at Thao to check Floyd’s pulse, but stopped when Thao pushed an onlooker, the AP reported. He added he didn’t have a good view of Kueng or Lane.

Thao, a Hmong American, Lane, who is white and Kueng, who is Black, are charged with depriving Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority as former officer Derek Chauvin restrained Floyd by pressing his knee to his neck.

The trial comes about nine months after Chauvin was convicted for second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in Floyd’s killing.

According to prosecutors, Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held down his legs and Thao held back bystanders to prevent them from intervening as Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, the AP reported.

During the opening statements in the trial on Monday, prosecutor Samantha Trepel said “these three CPR-trained defendants” — Kueng, Lane and Thao — “stood or knelt next to Officer Chauvin as he slowly killed George Floyd right in front of them.”

Kueng’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, made the case Monday that Chauvin gave orders to his fellow officers during the incident, citing his client’s inexperience and his and Lane’s referring to Chauvin as “sir.” 

Floyd’s murder sparked mass protests across the country, with demonstrators calling for racial justice and police reform. 

Tags Derek Chauvin George Floyd George Floyd killing J. Alexander Kueng Minneapolis Minnesota Thomas Lane Tou Thao
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