The four Minneapolis police officers who were charged for having a direct relation with George Floyd’s death were pleaded not guilty to federal charges this Tuesday at a virtual hearing.
Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng were the four police officers who were charged with violating Floyd’s legal rights and were alleged to have failed to take any action for Floyd while he was in clear need of medical care.
Lane and Kueng tried walking Floyd in May 2020. He was handcuffed after being held guilty of using a counterfeit $20 bill to a group of police officers. Floyd fell to the ground and he even said to the officers that he was not resisting. However getting into the car would have been suffocating for him due to claustrophobia, as said by the prosecutors. Chauvin and Tao later reached the scene where Floyd was pinned and then videos were captured that shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, which ultimately killed him.
Police officers charges o be separated from Chauvin
Chauvin is now serving a 22 and 1/2 year sentence in prison for murdering Floyd. He is also accused in the federal trial of depriving Floyd willingly of his right to be protected from illegal search and seizure. The indictment said Chauvin went against the legal right by pinning Floyd to the ground as he was handcuffed and was not resisting at all
The grand jury even charged Kueng and Tao who failed to take any action and stop Chauvin as he put unreasonable force on Floyd. Kueng, Tao, and Lane also have two charges each in state court for assisting and deterring a second-degree murder.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony Leung listened to all the details from Kueng, Lane, and Thao’s attorneys, who have requested for their legal trials to be separated from Chauvin’s. They argued that having a combined proceeding shall be considered as Chauvin’s existing convictions.
Thao’s lawyer Bob Paule also said that his client’s case should also be separated from Kueng and Lane’s, As Thao was in a position as a senior officer to the two rookies during that time.
Four ex-cops accused in George Floyd’s death plead not guilty
Assistant U.S. attorney Manda Sertich said this year, the officers’ cases were separated due to COVID-19 concerns. She also said that the standard for severance is different between state and federal proceedings. She even had a discussion saying that COVID is not much of a concern due to a lot of facilities and resources by the government.
Search said on Tuesday that this is going to be clear based on the evidence provided to the jury that this is not a murder case. She said that this is a case involving legal violations, so for now, there’s no prejudice from the fact that Mr. Chauvin was convicted of murder. She then said that she feels confident that the defense will also be making that distinction that those are not the charges and the jury will be appropriately instructed.
Chauvin will be returning to federal court for a different hearing related to the charge that accuses him of kneeling on a teenaged boy’s neck in 2017. on Thursday. Leung did not mention any further trial date on Tuesday.