The prosecutors in the case against the four former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd have requested to delay the trial for three months.
According to the Star Tribune, former cops Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were scheduled to appear on trial together on Mar. 8. Prosecutors want the trial delayed so more people can get vaccinated to reduce the health risks associated with COVID-19.
In the motion, the prosecution stated that putting off the trial until June 7 “appropriately balances the need to protect public health with the need to ensure that this case is resolved expeditiously.”
Waiting until then “would substantially reduce the risks to trial participants from COVID-19, and thereby reduce the risk that this trial is delayed or disrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak among the trial participants.”
Back in May, the four officers held Floyd down as he yelled out that he couldn’t breathe. Dozens of people watched in horror as he fell unconscious and later died. His death sparked nationwide protests and reignited the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tao, Lane and Kueng are currently charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Last month, Judge Peter Cahill upheld his decision to allow cameras into the courtroom during the trial. He said that he would allow video coverage of the trial due to immense global interest in the case, the COVID-19 pandemic and because of limited courthouse space.
“Without question, deprivation of the constitutional rights that are the hallmarks of a public criminal trial would be a ‘manifest injustice,’” Cahill wrote. “The only real issue then, is whether there is a reasonable alternative to televising the trial that would vindicate the defendants’ Sixth Amendment rights and the First Amendment rights of the public and the press. The Court concludes that televising the trial is the only reasonable and meaningful method to safeguard the Sixth and First Amendment rights implicated in these cases.”