MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys for four former Minneapolis officers charged in the death of George Floyd say that each client should get his own trial, as the officers try to diminish their roles in the Black man’s death by pointing fingers at one another.
Prosecutors say all four officers should be tried together because the nature of the charges and evidence is similar and “it is impossible to evaluate any individual Defendant’s conduct in a vacuum.”
The former officers are scheduled to appear in court Friday for a hearing on several issues, including the prosecution’s request to hold a joint trial. Other issues that will be argued include defense requests to move the trial away from Minneapolis and to sequester the jury and keep jurors anonymous.
Floyd, who was in handcuffs, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became motionless. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Defense requests to dismiss charges won’t be addressed at Friday’s hearing. A trial is scheduled for March.
Friday’s hearing will also mark the first time Chauvin is expected to appear in a courtroom. He is in state custody and has attended previous hearings via videoconference.
Prosecutors say the case should proceed with one trial because the evidence – including witness statements, body-camera video and police department policy on use of force – is similar for each officer. Prosecutors say the officers also acted in close concert.