Following the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in April 2021, a Minneapolis judge has ruled that the trial for the other three ex-police officers involved in the case has been postponed from summer 2021 to March 2022.
The Guardian has reported that “Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were [originally] scheduled to face trial on August 23 on charges they aided and abetted both murder and manslaughter when they assisted a more experienced officer, Derek Chauvin, in restraining Floyd face-down on the street last May, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck.”
In his announcement of the trial’s postponement, Judge Peter Cahill said he had changed the date so that a federal civil rights case against the officers could happen first. The civil rights case alleges that Lane, Keung, Thao and Chauvin violated Floyd’s constitutional rights during his arrest in May 2020.
According to the Guardian, Cahill also “felt the need to put some distance between the three officers’ trial and Chauvin’s due to all the publicity around the case.”
Cahill announced the trial’s postponement during pretrial motions relating to the case. The Guardian reported that “defense attorneys for all three former officers agreed to the postponement. The state, via the assistant attorney general Matthew Frank, did not support the delay.”
In addition to announcing his decision to push back the case, Cahill also considered a request to sanction prosecutors after information on Chauvin’s plan to plead guilty a year ago and allegations that they hadn’t disclosed information about the alleged coercion of witness were leaked and reported by the media.
Attorneys for the former officers want the court to require prosecuting attorneys to “submit affidavits under oath that they are not responsible for the leak to the media,” the Guardian reported.
Cahill’s decisions on those motions, as well as a suggestion that the county medical examiner was “coerced” into including “neck compression” in his medical report, have not been announced.
State attorney general Keith Ellison continues to deny any wrongdoing on the behalf of his office or its involvement in any media leaks relating to the case.
A date for the federal civil rights case against the officers is currently pending. Sentencing for Chauvin and his role in murdering George Floyd is currently expected on June 25.