MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge ruled Tuesday that the trial of three fired Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting George Floyd’s killing will not be livestreamed.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, who cited the threat of COVID-19 to allow livestreaming of last year’s murder trial of Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s death, said in his order that the pandemic has receded to the point that he cannot override the other three officers’ objections to live audiovisual coverage.
The trial for former Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng is set to begin with motions on June 13. Jury selection begins June 14 with opening statements set for July 5. Cahill said he expects the evidence phase to take four or five weeks, meaning the trial could last into early August.
Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back as Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd, a Black man, to the pavement for 9 1/2 minutes on May 25, 2020.
Prosecutors and a coalition of media organizations including The Associated Press had argued for allowing live televised coverage again, citing the continued intense public and media interest in the case, and the potential resurgence of the coronavirus.
But Cahill wrote that the “unusual and compelling circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic” at the time of the Chauvin trial have substantially abated, and court system rules in force at the time that mandated social distancing have been lifted. So, he said, he’s bound by Minnesota’s normal court rules, which allow cameras during most of a trial only if all parties consent.
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