MINNEAPOLIS — Four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd appeared Monday in court.
Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were scheduled to appear before a judge at 12:15 p.m. local time for a pre-trial hearing, according to court records.
Update 3:15 p.m. EDT June 29: Judge Peter Cahill warned attorneys Monday that the cases against Chauvin, Lane, Thao and Kueng might have to be moved to a different venue due to statements being made by public officials about the case, the Star Tribune reported.
Cahill said statements being made by friends, family and law enforcement officials have been “endangering the right to a fair trial” for the suspects.
“We are just as interested in fair trial and are acutely aware of the issues you talk about,” Assistant General Attorney Matthew Frank said, according to the Star Tribune. “We have asked people not to talk about this case ... we’ve done our best to make the court’s concerns known to them and will continue to do so.”
On Monday, Cahill tentatively set a trial date for March 8, 2021 and set the next hearing date in the case for Sept. 11, according to CNN.
Original report: On Friday, a judge declined to allow cameras in the courtroom after prosecutors objected to the move. Several news organizations had requested permission to broadcast Monday’s proceedings, however, under Minnesota law, all parties must agree to allow the coverage.
Chauvin, Lane, Thao and Kueng were working as Minneapolis police officers May 25 when they responded to a report of someone allegedly using a counterfeit $20 at a local grocery store. Floyd was being detained for questioning when he was killed, according to investigators.
Authorities charged Chauvin with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after video surfaced on social media showing him press his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. In the video, Floyd can be heard pleading for air and eventually going still as bystanders demand Chauvin move.
The medical examiner for Hennepin County later said in an autopsy report that Floyd’s heart stopped as he was being restrained. His death was ruled a homicide. A separate autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family also called his death a homicide but concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression
Lane, Thao and Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death prompted global outrage and sparked a national reckoning with racism and police brutality.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.