Both sides seek to delay state trial for cops in Floyd death

Published 4:57 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors and defense attorneys for three former Minneapolis officers who are charged in the death of George Floyd asked a judge on Friday to postpone their state trial while a federal civil rights trial goes forward.

Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are scheduled to go to trial on March 7 on state charges of aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter. The three also face a federal trial on Jan. 20 on charges alleging they violated Floyd’s civil rights while acting under government authority.

State prosecutors and defense attorneys filed a joint request Friday to have the state trial postponed, saying it’s not known how long the federal trial will last. The request says all parties agree that “a continuance should be granted in the interest of justice.”

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They are asking for an informal conference to set a new trial date. It’s not known when Judge Peter Cahill will rule.

Derek Chauvin, who is white, was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison last year on murder and manslaughter charges for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for up to 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and eventually went limp. According to evidence in the state case against Chauvin, Kueng and Lane helped restrain the 46-year-old Black man as he was on the ground. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held down Floyd’s legs. Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening as he was restrained.

Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to a federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights during the May, 25, 2020, arrest. Prosecutors are seeking 25 years on the federal count.

The killing was captured on bystander video and galvanized protests against police brutality around the U.S. and beyond.