Police officer charged with murdering George Floyd heckled as he leaves court
The police officer who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes was heckled as he appeared in court in person for the first time.
Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with first degree murder and is currently being held in custody. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, who helped with George Floyd’s arrest, have all been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are free on bail.
After a three-hour pre-trial hearing on Friday, corrections officers lead Chauvin, who was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, face mask and handcuffs, away while protesters shouted at him.
During the hearing on Friday, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the local prosecutor from the murder trial, accusing him and his team of ‘sloppy’ work.
Mike Freeman, Hennepin County attorney, was removed from the case along with the three other members of his team. He was criticised for sending staff to speak to medical examiners without an independent witness present at the discussion.
Judge Cahill said: ‘It was sloppy not to have someone present.
‘Those four attorneys are off the case. They are now witnesses.’
The medical examiner’s verdict is expected to play a key role in the trial as it will determine whether George Floyd was killed by Chauvin kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 45 seconds.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office said George Floyd, who died while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill, experienced cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained.
Their autopsy also said the 46-year-old victim had ‘other significant conditions’ including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, ‘fentanyl intoxication; [and] recent methamphetamine use.’
An independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family said he died because of sustained pressure that impeded blood flow to the brain, preventing him from being able to breathe.
The police officers’ defence attorneys have suggested that Floyd’s death may have been an overdose.
This was criticised by attorneys representing George Floyd’s family, who held a press conference after the hearing.
Prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said: ‘The only overdose was an overdose of police force.The world saw what happened.
‘Who are you going to believe? Your eyes, or these killer cops?’
Along with Freeman’s dismissal, Friday’s session also discussed whether the trial should be moved out of the county, whether defendants should have one trial or four separate ones and how jurors will be chosen.
Prosecutors argued that multiple trials would traumatise witnesses and Floyd’s family and would not be as efficient as one trial, while defence attorneys say one trial could mean evidence against one officer negatively impacting another’s right to a fair trial.
All four defence attorneys have asked for the trial to be moved from Minneapolis because the publicity the case has received would make it impossible to select an impartial jury.
Although Cahill made a decision to remove Freeman, the judge remained undecided about other issues, saying it was premature to decide whether to move the trial.
He said he was planning to send out a questionnaire to possible jurors asking how they have been affected by coverage of the case.
He also said he would probably use an anonymous jury because of potential security threats and predicted that the trial would last six weeks including two weeks of jury selection.
Lane and Kueng’s attorneys are arguing that their clients were rookies who were acting under the instruction of Chauvin, whilst Thao’s attorney is arguing that his client was on crowd control and had an ‘absolutely distinct’ role.
Chauvin’s attorney has said prosecutors need to prove his client had an intention to assault Floyd and that other officers knew about this intention before it happened.
He said Chauvin believed Floyd was overdosing on fentanyl and Lane and Kueng did not elevate the call to one that was more urgent or give him medical assistance.
He said: ‘If EMS had arrived just three minutes sooner, Mr. Floyd may have survived. If Kueng and Lane had chosen to de-escalate instead of struggle, Mr. Floyd may have survived. If Kueng and Lane had recognized the apparent signs of an opioid overdose and rendered aid, such as administering naloxone, Mr. Floyd may have survived.’
Outside the courthouse, protesters staged a symbolic ‘die-in’, lying on the ground for eight minutes 46 seconds – the time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Source: Read Full Article