Cops charged in the death of George Floyd who turned on each other in attempts to diminish their own roles in the incident have lost their hopes for separate trials.
In a flurry of decisions Thursday morning, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill decided that Minneapolis PD officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Derek Chauvin will not have the separate trials they requested in September, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The trial will also go forward in Minnesota where the incident took place, something the defendants were hoping to avoid.
The decision upends the cops’ attempts to shirk blame for the fatal incident this past summer, which sparked international protests against police brutality in Black and brown communities.
An attorney for Chauvin, who was most directly responsible for Floyd’s death, argued that the other officers didn’t intervene in the fatal encounter when they should have. Attorneys for Kueng and Lane argued that they were just one week into the job and were following orders from their senior officer. Thao’s attorney simply argued that he shouldn’t face the same consequences as Chauvin, as he played a much smaller role in the Black man’s death.
Attorneys for each of the officers had previously argued that if the men were tried together, it would be impossible for them to receive a fair trial, considering the high-profile nature of the case.
Judge Cahill ruled that trying the officers together “would allow this community, this State and the nation to absorb the verdicts for the four defendants at once,” according to Politico.
He also decided that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom when the trial begins, next March, that it will not take place outside of Hennepin County, and that the jury will remain anonymous and sequestered for the duration of what’s expected to be a lengthy trial.
In the last month, a number of new developments have come out in the lead-up to the trial.
Shortly after Chauvin posted $1 million bail, Cahill dropped third-degree murder charges against the officer and allowed him to wait for his trial outside the state of Minnesota, where he previously lived, due to safety concerns.
Chauvin is now facing charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Thao, Kueng, and Lane are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.