The trial for three former Minneapolis police officers charged by state prosecutors with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd has been moved to March 7, 2022, Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE11 reports.
Those federal charges will now jump the queue of the pending state trial against Thao, Kueng, and Lane, whom state authorities accused of aiding and abetting second degree murder and other charges past year on June 3. Even with the aggravating factors, legal experts have said, he is unlikely to get more than 30 years.
In a six-page ruling dated Tuesday, District Court Judge Peter Cahill found that prosecutors had shown there were four aggravating factors in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man. But Cahill acknowledged concerns about giving them a fair trial, and he noted that jury questionnaires have not yet been sent to potential members of the jury that will hear the state's case.
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A United States judge on Thursday postponed the trial of three former Minneapolis policemen charged in the killing of George Floyd to March 2022 in order to let a federal prosecution against them go ahead first. Cahill said the factors he will consider when sentencing the former Minneapolis police officer include his abuse of authority, the fact that he "treated George Floyd with particular cruelty", the presence of children, and that Chauvin committed the crime with the "active participation" of at least three other people. Chauvin notoriously knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes before the captive lost consciousness.
While Cahill accepted most of the prosecution's arguments that aggravating circumstances were present, he rejected one of them, finding that lawyers for the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Floyd was "particularly vulnerable". Cahill said these officers let Chauvin know that asphyxia was actually happening - yet Chauvin held his position.
Thao's defense attorney also asked Cahill to drop all charges against Thao, and to rule that Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner, was coerced into saying that Floyd died of asphyxiation. A few of the witnesses who testified during the trial were under 18 at the time of Floyd's death. A few days later, federal officials announced a grand jury indicted Chauvin and three other former officers who were involved with Floyd's arrest with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force.
It was unknown when Cahill would rule on that motion.