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George Floyd case: Judge denies request to move trial

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According to reports, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill has declined to move the location of the trial involving the four Minneapolis police officers charged with the death of George Floyd.

The Minneapolis judge ruled Thursday that the officers will be tried altogether and stand trial in March.

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“We applaud Judge Cahill’s decision today to keep the trial of the officers involved in George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and to try all of the former officers together,”  said Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd’s family, and his co-counsel, Antonio Romanucci, in a statement. “Trying these officers together will give the jury a complete picture of what happened on the day that George was murdered.”

“Each of these men played a role that ultimately led to his death- whether it was a knee to the neck or denying any intervention as George and onlookers begged for his life,” the statement continued. “The judge’s decision to keep the trial in Minneapolis is the right one. We never see Black defendants get a change of venue to increase the fairness of their trials, and the White officers involved in the death of George Floyd should rightly face a jury of their peers in the city where this tragedy took place.”

Defense lawyers of the officers made the argument that the publicity surrounding the high-profile case would prevent their clients from getting a fair trial. Moreover, they also voiced their concerns for the defendants and potential witnesses. Cahill stated that if needed, he’d revisit his original ruling.

“The sustained levels of media attention show no sign of abating,” said Cahill. “In addition, there certainly will be a swell of media coverage surrounding the proceedings and verdict in the first trial.”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement Thursday that he sees no problem with the judge’s decision.

“The murder of George Floyd occurred in Minneapolis and it is right that the defendants should be tried in Minneapolis,” said Ellison. “It is also true that they acted in concert with each other and the evidence against them is similar, so it is right to try them in one trial.”

Former Minnesota officer Derek Chauvin will be facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The four officers have all been removed from the department.

“We are continuing to review the Court’s orders,” said  Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, in a statement.

“My goal is to assure that a fair trial occurs for Mr. Kueng. We are happy to have the orders so we can start preparing for our trial and presenting the truth in front of a jury.”

Video of the death of Floyd’s death on May 25th, shows Chauvin kneeling on the 46-year-old’s neck for nearly eight minutes. As the handcuffed Black man told Chauvin and three other officers that he couldn’t breathe. The video that still resonates with the American public to this day.  In addition, have sparked global demonstrations, civil unrest and calls for police reform.

The decision made by Cahill comes two days after Election Day. In addition, Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, earlier in the week went out to polling sites in Brooklyn to encourage people to vote.

The trial will start on March 8, 2021, and cameras will be allowed in the courtroom.

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