The murderers of George Floyd are blaming each other in a Friday hearing. The former cops are asking for separate trials and for the trial to be moved out of Minneapolis due to publicity. They also want to sequester jurors and keep jurors anonymous.
Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Derek Chauvin are the former Minneapolis police officers responsible for killing and helping facilitate the killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd on May 25. According to the Washington Post, the men appear to be turning against one another, with each of them providing different versions of Floyd’s death in new court documents. They all claimed they thought someone else was in charge of the scene, saying they all leaned on veteran officers for guidance in the situation. They defer to Chauvin as being the person that was at the center of the murder. Chauvin is the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, which ultimately led to the man’s death.
“There are very likely going to be antagonistic defenses presented at the trial. It is plausible that all officers have a different version of what happened and officers place blame on one another,” Earl Gray, a lawyer for Thomas K. Lane, wrote in a legal motion filed this week, according to The Washington Post. A trial is scheduled for March. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. Thomas Lane, J Kueng, and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter, The Guardian reports.
In a court filing, prosecutors wrote: “All four defendants worked together to murder Floyd: Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane pinned Floyd face-down, while Thao stopped the crowd from intervening, enabling the other defendants to maintain their positions. Defendants also discussed and coordinated their actions throughout the incident.” Defense attorneys are pushing for separate trials, with attorneys argue that evidence against one officer may negatively affect another’s right to a fair trial. Attorneys for Lane and Kueng have argued that their clients were new officers and were merely following Chauvin’s lead. Thao’s attorney, Bob Paule, said that his client’s involvement was “absolutely distinct” because he was assigned to control crowds during the incident to secure the scene. At that time, the three other officers were restraining Floyd, his lawyer argues.
Chauvin’s attorney, #EricNelson, wrote that prosecutors need to prove that Chauvin intentionally meant to assault Floyd and that the other officers knew of Chauvin’s intent. “The other defendants are clearly saying that, if a crime was committed, they neither knew about it nor assisted in it,” Nelson wrote, “They blame Chauvin.” Chauvin claims the other officers are at fault, saying Lane and Kueng, the officers who first responded to the call that was made by the shop owner who suspected Floyd of trying to use fake money, initiated contact with Floyd before Chauvin and Thao arrived and that Chauvin believed Floyd was overdosing on fentanyl. In the court document, Nelson went on to say that while Kueng and Lane called for a paramedic and believed Floyd was “on something,” they did not try to medically assist Floyd or try to give the call to someone else that could have helped him medically. “Instead, they struggled to subdue Mr. Floyd and force him into their squad car, likely exacerbating his condition considerably,” wrote Nelson. He added that Chauvin could say their alleged negligence led to Floyd’s death.
“If EMS had arrived just three minutes sooner, Mr. Floyd may have survived. If Kueng and Lane had chosen to de-escalate instead of struggle, Mr. Floyd may have survived. If Kueng and Lane had recognized the apparent signs of an opioid overdose and rendered aid, such as administering naloxone, Mr. Floyd may have survived.” The men are now requesting that the pre-trial be moved out of Minneapolis, claiming that the publicity has made it impossible for them to have a fair trial.