Minnesota AG to prosecute 3 ex-cops in George Floyd’s death

Derek Chauvin Trial

FILE – This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows from left, former Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — With Derek Chauvin convicted of murder, the fate of three other former Minneapolis Police officers on scene during George Floyd’s death will be determined by trial in August with same prosecutor as Chauvin.

The office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told NewsNation Wednesday that AG Ellison will prosecute the remaining officers involved in Floyd’s death.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, all of whom were fired and arrested days after Floyd died last May, are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ordered the men will be tried together to reduce the number of people in the courtroom amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial will begin on Aug. 23

Kueng and Lane, rookies, were the first officers to arrive outside the convenience store where Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes on May 25. 

Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane each used their weight to restrain Floyd on the ground after he hesitated to get into the back of a squad car. Lane was positioned on his legs, “kneeling on them and pressing them down with his hands,” according to the complaint.

At one point, Lane asked, “Should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin responded: “No, staying put where we got him.” Lane then said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” to which Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”

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Prosecutors said Kueng was between Chauvin and Lane, kneeling on Floyd’s back, with his hand on Floyd’s handcuffed left wrist. After Floyd became unresponsive, it was Kueng who checked the right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one,” prosecutors said in their complaint. None of the officers moved from their positions, the complaint said.

Thao was the only one of the four officers who didn’t have physical contact with Floyd, but prosecutors said he had a direct look at how Chauvin and the others were restraining him. When a bystander stepped off the curb, “imploring Chauvin to get off of Mr. Floyd, (Thao) put his hands on the citizen to keep him back,” the complaint said.

Prosecutors declined to discuss their case. Attorneys for Lane and Kueng also declined, and Thao’s attorney did not return a message seeking comment to the Associated Press.

Aiding and abetting murder is punishable by up to 40 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines can reduce the maximum to 15 years.

The former officers are free on $750,000 bail.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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