- “The court is not going to be happy about hearing about the case in three areas: media, evidence and guilt or innocence,” the judge said.
- Judge Cahill revealed that he is targeting September 11 for another hearing, and the trial would begin in March 8, 2021.
- Chauvin attended the hearing through a video link while the other officers appeared in court in person.
A judge in charge of George Floyd’s murder case has cautioned attorneys and other officials against making comments regarding the case. Judge Peter Cahill said further inappropriate public comments on the case would result to a change of venue for the case. He, however, did not issue any gag orders on the attorneys.
“The court is not going to be happy about hearing about the case in three areas: media, evidence and guilt or innocence,” the judge said. Judge Cahill revealed that he is targeting September 11 for another hearing, and the trial would begin in March 8, 2021. This was the second pre-trial hearing.
Floyd, an African American man died on May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty six seconds. Floyd was buried early this month in Houston amid calls for racial justice from speakers.
Chauvin, the officer who pinned him down, is charged with second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. Chauvin attended the hearing through a video link while the other officers appeared in court in person.
The other three officers, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tuo Thao, are accused of aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter. No cameras are to be allowed in court, since a judge denied a request from the accused to allow cameras during the hearings.
Lane and Kueng were released on conditional bail of $750,000, whereas Tuo Thao remains in custody. Derek Chauvin is being held at Minnesota’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights on a $1 million bail.
The four officers were fired after a video of Floyd’s death at their hands went viral. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo had said Chauvin knew what he was doing, and the other officers failed to prevent the killing
In a horrifying video, Chauvin pinned Floyd down with his knee as he lay on the ground during an arrest. The video footage was taken by a witness and was sent on social media. It showed Floyd helpless, asking the police not to kill him. Floyd said several times, “I can’t breathe!”
The officer is then heard telling him to relax he continues to pin him down. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts,” Floyd cries out. “[I need] water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. . . I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.” In the footage witnesses are heard pleading with the police to let go the man but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The death of Floyd has sparked outrage from all quarters, and ignited anger over police killings of black Americans. Widespread anti-racism protests were witnessed in all US states and around the world. The protests were violent in the beginning, but later on turned peaceful.
A number of police officers have used a lot of force during the widespread protests against the murder of Floyd. Some of these officers have been fired, while others have been charged. The demonstrators were calling for justice for Floyd, as well as police reforms where they advocated for disbandment and dismantling of the police force.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis Police ChiefArradondo has pledged to reform his police department a month after the death of Floyd. The police chief and Mayor Jacob Frey said that they have begun pushing for policy changes and new rules, particularly regarding police investigations.
One such rule is aimed at preventing officers involved in the use of force from reviewing body camera footage before the initial police report is completed. “The policies also restrict consultation with certain representatives immediately following a critical incident and clarify time requirements for reporting.” the police chief said.
Mayor Frey, who is opposed to the call to abolish the police, said the policy will ensure transparency.