George Floyd's family see cops face court amid judge's trial warning

The hearing comes more than a month after Mr Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

George Floyd's family see cops face court amid judge's trial warning

A Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he's likely to move the trials of four police officers charged in George Floyd's death out of Minneapolis if public officials and attorneys don't stop talking about the case.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order on attorneys, but he said one is likely if public statements continue.

Cahill added that such a situation would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed.

"The court is not going to be happy about hearing about the case in three areas: media, evidence and guilt or innocence," Cahill said.

It was the second pretrial hearing for the officers, who were fired after Floyd's May 25 death.

Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and other counts, while Thomas Lane, 37, J Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.

Floyd died after Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man's neck for nearly eight minutes.

The officers were responding to a call about a man trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby store.

His family spoke outside the court.

His aunt, Angela Harrelson said they didn't like the fact they were "asked not to respond in a certain way.

"So I think my nephew's case is gonna be a fight. This is going to be a heavy fight, I see it right away," she said.

His uncle, Selwyn Jones said he was "mad at the system," adding, "How do you kill.... I mean how do you control a situation anymore than you had it controlled.

"He's handcuffed, on his stomach, hands behind his back. What was he going to do? Hell, he couldn't get up and run. We all sat there and just watched him get brutally tortured and murdered."

Floyd's death was universally condemned in Minnesota, with elected officials including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey calling for the officers to be charged.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Floyd's death was "murder."

New York City, New York

Cahill asked Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank to use his influence to keep public officials silent, warning that if they continued to discuss it publicly, he likely would "have to pull (trials) out of Hennepin County and they need to be aware of that."

Cahill set a March 8 trial date for the former officers if they are tried together, though he said he expects motions to be filed to separate their trials. The next court date is Sept. 11.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The defendants have not entered pleas.

Chauvin's attorney has not commented publicly on the charges, while Lane's and Kueng's attorneys have sought to minimise their clients' roles and deflect blame to the more senior Chauvin in Floyd's death, which sparked protests around the world against police brutality.

Chauvin's bail was set at $1.25 million or $1 million ($1.8 or $1.45 million) under certain conditions, while bail for Kueng, Thao and Lane was set at $1 million each or $750,000 ($1.45 or $1 million) under certain conditions.

Chauvin, 44, and Thao, 34, remain in custody, and Lane, 37, and Kueng, 26, have been released on conditional bond.

Cahill also rejected a defence request to reconsider his earlier decision to allow cameras in the courtroom during pretrial proceedings. Defence attorneys asked to allow such coverage, but prosecutors objected.

The judge has not ruled on whether to allow cameras for the trial itself, which in Minnesota usually requires the consent of all parties.

Kueng's attorney, Tom Plunkett, was the attorney asking Cahill to reconsider his ruling on cameras.

He asserted that prosecutors and other officials forfeited their right to object to cameras in the courtroom by making public comments that went as far as "saying the defendants are guilty of murder."

He said allowing electronic coverage of pretrial proceedings would actually make it easier to impanel a fair jury by helping to "educate the public that there may be more to the cases than what has been told to them by the state."

Philadelphia

The charges against Chauvin are unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, third-degree murder carries up to 25 years and manslaughter up to 10.

The other three former officers are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Those charges are legally tantamount to the counts against Chauvin and carry the same penalties.

Washington DC

– Reported with Associated Press and CNN

Source : 9 News