An upcoming state trial for the role that two former Minneapolis police officers played in George Floyd’s death has been postponed.
The jury selection process in the trial against Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng was set to begin next week, however, it has since been pushed to January 2023, according to CNN.
Both of the officers have pleaded not guilty after being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder as well as aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
On Monday (June 6), Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled that public attention from the plea deal, coupled with the recent federal conviction of all three former officers for violating Floyd’s civil rights earlier this year, fall too closely to the anticipated trial date.
“These two events and the publicity surrounding them are significant in that they could make it difficult for jurors to presume Thao and Kueng innocent of the State charges,” Cahill wrote in a statement.
A request from the defense attorney to change the venue where the ruling will take place has also been denied.
The charges were brought forth after the former officers neglected to step in as their colleague, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020.
At the time of the arrest, Lane held down Floyd’s legs and torso as Thao maintained control of bystanders.
A jury selection process in the rescheduled case will now begin on Jan. 9 and opening statements are set to begin on Jan. 30.
Chauvin was convicted in spring 2021 and sentenced to over 22 years in prison during a state trial. In December, he pleaded guilty in a federal court stating that he violated Floyd’s civil rights. He will be sentenced from anywhere between 20 and 25 years in prison.