A Minnesota judge who is overseeing the trial for the four former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the killing of George Floyd ruled Thursday (Nov. 5) that they would stand trial together and the case would remain in Minneapolis.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter A. Cahill made his decision after the officers’ legal teams asked for separate trials at a hearing back in September. They believed their clients — Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — would get a fairer trial if they were done separately outside of Hennepin County.
Additionally, Judge Cahill ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom to livestream the proceedings. He also ruled that the jurors will be isolated and anonymous. The judge decided on one trial because he believed the officers’ defenses were “mutually supportive.”
“[A]ll Defendants contend they were authorized in using force because Floyd was resisting their demands to take a seat in the squad car for transport to the jail for booking and that the force they used was reasonable,” he wrote. “In addition, all Defendants contend that Floyd’s death resulted from his underlying medical conditions, heart disease, and hypertension acting in combination with several drugs found in his system post-mortem and was not caused by their actions in subduing and restraining him.”
Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci released a joint statement following the judge’s ruling. “We applaud Judge Cahill’s decision today to keep the trial of the officers involved in George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and to try all of the former officers together,” read the statement. “Trying these officers together will give the jury a complete picture of what happened on the day that George was murdered. Each of these men played a role that ultimately led to his death- whether it was a knee to the neck or denying any intervention as George and onlookers begged for his life.”
“The judge’s decision to keep the trial in Minneapolis is the right one,” the statement continued. “We never see Black defendants get a change of venue to increase the fairness of their trials, and the White officers involved in the death of George Floyd should rightly face a jury of their peers in the city where this tragedy took place.”
Their trial is slated to start on Mar. 8.