Three other former Minnesota police officers who are charged in George Floyd’s May 2020 asked on Tuesday to have their federal trial separated from their ex-colleague, Derek Chauvin, who is currently serving a 22-year sentence.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, attorneys for Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, filed a motion claiming the three ex-cops would be unfairly prejudiced if they stood trial alongside Chauvin, who was convicted in state court of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder.
The Tribune reported that the motion filed by Thao’s attorney suggested that Thao wanted a completely separate trial.
On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 46, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
In May of this year, a federal grand jury indicted Thao, Lane, Kueng, and Chauvin for violating Floyd’s civil rights while acting under government authority. Chauvin was also charged with violating the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy he allegedly struck with a flashlight, held by the throat, and knelt on for 17 minutes during a 2017 arrest.
On the state level, Thao, Lane, and Kueng are awaiting trial for aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Their joint trial was delayed to March 2022, as Hennepin County judge Peter Cahill wanted the publicity surrounding Chauvin’s case to subside and to give priority to the four ex-officers’ federal trials.
Thao, Lane, Kueng, and Chauvin’s federal arraignment is scheduled for September 14. A trial date has not been set.
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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, Tuo Thao/Hennepin County Jail]