There is a huge public interest in the trial of the four ex-cops who were involved in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. The former Minneapolis police officers are currently set to go to trial in March and a judge will decide if cameras will be allowed in the courtrooms to allow for everyone to witness the proceedings, AP reports.
The state attorney general’s office, who is prosecuting the case, is opposed to the idea.
The presiding judge, Peter Cahill, decided against audio and visual coverage of the pretrial back in June due to the risk of tainting the jury pool. For the actual trial, Cahill will rule if audio and video coverage will be allowed at a later date.
In Minnesota, the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys must all agree to allow cameras in the court during criminal trials before sentencing is handed out.
Prosecutors, however, are concerned that live audio and visual coverage “may create more problems than they will solve.” Defense attorneys would like cameras in the court to ensure the trial is fair and are asking the judge to grant video and audio coverage of the trial regardless of the prosecution’s request.
Some media organizations have also requested camera access to increase the transparency of the trial, especially during the pandemic.
Jane Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, who is part of the media coalition requesting camera access, said live streaming the trial on YouTube could also be an option.
The former officers in the case, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, have consented to cameras in the court but that will ultimately be left up to Judge Cahill.
Chauvin is set to face charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd, while Lane, Kueng and Thao are facing charges of aiding and abetting.