The police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd could see their trial begin on March 8. This is what a judge in the city of Minneapolis hopes, who however threatened to disorient him if the parties continued to speak in the media on this file which revolted America. “I would like pre-trial advertising to not include any communications from the families of the parties, their friends or elected officials,” magistrate Peter Cahill said Monday during a long-awaited hearing in the northern US city. -United.
Dressed in an orange prisoner’s costume, his face covered with a mask, ex-agent Derek Chauvin appeared by video link from the high security prison where he has been detained for a month. This 44-year-old white man is charged with murder for suffocating George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, by kneeling on his neck for long minutes.
His three former colleagues Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, prosecuted for complicity in the murder, appeared in person before the judge. The first two were released on bail on bail of $ 750,000. The latter is still in prison, but has been transferred to court for this hearing. The four, all of whom were laid off from the police, face up to 40 years in prison. In a document sent after the hearing, counsel for Alexander Kueng said that his client intended to plead “not guilty” and argued that he had used “reasonable use of force” to defend himself . The strategies of the other accused have not yet been released.
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On May 25, the four agents wanted to arrest George Floyd, suspected of having tried to sell a counterfeit 20 dollar bill in a Minneapolis store. The man in his forties, handcuffed, was pressed to the ground and Constable Derek Chauvin applied his knee to his neck to keep him there. “I can’t breathe,” pleaded George Floyd several times before he lost consciousness. Despite passers-by, Derek Chauvin continued to apply pressure for almost eight minutes, according to the indictment.
“This is a dossier which is of great public interest”
ÉLe drama, whose images captured by a passerby went viral, has sparked a wave of unprecedented protests since the great civil rights marches of the 1960s, which has even crossed American borders. At the hearing, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer complained that many officials, including the mayor of Minneapolis or even President Donald Trump, had commented on the matter. “This is a file that is of great public interest,” admitted Mr. Eric Nelson, “but, if these statements continue, I will ask the justice” to prohibit them, he threatened.
Judge Peter Cahill, who had banned the cameras in the courtroom, also wanted the case to be tried in court, not in the media. Otherwise, the trial will have to be changed outside of Hennepin County, he said. The magistrate fixed March 8, 2021 as the possible date for its holding. This may however be reviewed depending on the progress of the procedure.
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Prosecutor Matthew Frank said he too wanted a “fair trial” and undertook to recommend to the family, the elected officials and the investigators in charge of the file to refrain from commenting on the file publicly in the future. But “I can’t force them to,” he said. At the same time, outside of the courthouse, an uncle of George Floyd wanted the trial not to be held in Minnesota. “I’m not mad at anyone,” Selwyn Jones, who came from South Dakota on purpose for the hearing, told reporters. But, for him, the trial “will not be fair” if it takes place in this state where the black population is very minority. The next hearing has been set for September 11.