The trial for three former Minneapolis police officers who accompanied convicted ex-cop Derek Chauvin in arresting George Floyd has been postponed by a judge to March 2022. J Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were originally scheduled to face trial on August 23.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill on Thursday pushed their trial date back to allow for a federal case against them and Chauvin to first play out . A federal grand jury indicted Keung, Lane, Thao and Chauvin last Friday, alleging they violated Floyd’s civil rights when they arrested him on May 25.
‘Bottom line, we’re not going to trial in August. We need space,’ Cahill said during the hearing on pretrial motions, according to a press pool report.
Defense attorneys for Keung, Lane and Thao agreed with Cahill’s decision. It was not clear who originally asked for the change in date. State prosecutors sought to keep the August trial date, but Cahill noted the defendants’ concerns around a fair trial. Jury questionnaires had not been sent out.
Keung, 27, and Lane, 38, were the first cops to arrive at the Cup Foods store in southern Minneapolis, where Floyd allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill. Thao, 35, and Chauvin, 45, subsequently responded.
In the federal case, Kueng and Thao are accused of failing to stop Chauvin from kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed on the ground for more than nine minutes. The four ex-cops are charged with ‘deliberate indifference’ to the black man because they did not provide medical care as he repeatedly said he could not breathe.
Last month, a grand jury found Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On Wednesday, Cahill ruled that four aggravating factors in Chauvin’s case were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning he could face a longer prison term than Minnesota’s recommended sentencing guidelines.
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