George Floyd pretrial begins for 3 former cops charged with violating civil rights – National

Three former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights in an arrest that resulted in his death were scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday for a pre-trial conference that could address a host of issues, including the evidence that will be allowed at trial.

Tou Thao, J. Kueng and Thomas Lane face a January 20 trial over allegations that they stripped Floyd of his rights while acting under the authority of the government.

Specifically, officers are accused of depriving Floyd of the right not to be indifferent to his medical needs. Thao and Kueng are also accused of willfully depriving Floyd, who was black, of his right to be free from unreasonable force by not preventing fellow officer Derek Chauvin from resting his knee in the neck. by Floyd.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in April of murder and manslaughter charges. Last month, he pleaded guilty to one count of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

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The May 2020 murder was captured on spectator video and galvanized protests against police brutality in the United States and beyond.

According to evidence from Chauvin’s murder trial, Kueng and Lane helped restrain Floyd, 46, while he was on the ground. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held Floyd’s legs up. Thao prevented passers-by from intervening.

Pre-trial hearings, sometimes called status conferences, are the norm. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson is expected to explain how the trial will unfold and assess what evidence will be limited or permitted. Both parties have filed several motions.

Among them, Kueng’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, wants paramedics not to be allowed to testify as to whether Floyd was dead when they arrived, saying it was irrelevant. Prosecutors disagree, saying the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death. They plan to present evidence showing that officers have been trained that “when a person is not breathing and has no pulse, you have to act quickly to provide potentially life-saving help.”


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Thao’s attorney Bob Paule wants the court to ban prosecutors from asking witnesses how they felt watching Floyd’s arrest or videos of it, saying such testimony is likely to ‘mislead the jury. Prosecutors say the witnesses ‘submissions are relevant because the jury determines the officers’ state of mind.

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Paule also asks the judge to forbid the witnesses to wear clothes that could bias the jury. Specifically, he said a Minneapolis firefighter who witnessed the death while off duty should not wear her uniform while testifying, as she did during the murder trial. by Chauvin.

Lane’s attorney Earl Gray also called for the government not to be allowed to call a 10-year-old girl as a witness, saying her testimony would be used to plead sympathy. Prosecutors disagreed, saying even the girl, who was 9 at the time, could see Floyd in serious medical need.

Prosecutors are asking that the defense not be allowed to present evidence about the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department and previous use of force complaints. Paule and Plunkett argued that banning such evidence would prevent them from fully defending themselves.


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Plunkett is also seeking to present evidence from two 2019 police stops in which Floyd was present, claiming they showed how he acted when confronted by police and that he did not suffer from claustrophobia, as he told officers during the arrest which ended in his death. Prosecutors say previous encounters with Floyd’s police are irrelevant.

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Paule and Gray also want additional peremptory challenges during jury selection, citing the pre-trial publicity. Normally, the government has six peremptory challenges and defendants in a multi-defendant case have 10.

It was unclear whether Magnuson would make any rulings at Tuesday’s hearing.

The three former officers are also charged by the state with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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