Jury selection begins in trial of ex-cops charged with aiding in George Floyd's death
The big picture: Derek Chauvin's May 2020 murder of George Floyd set off more than two years of near-constant state and federal legal proceedings in the Twin Cities.
- This latest state-level case involving ex-officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao marks the third trial in less than 20 months.
The charges: Kueng and Thao, who were working with Derek Chauvin the day of Floyd's May 2020 death, are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
- Keung pinned Floyd’s back during the encounter while Thao managed crowds of bystanders.
- Both have pleaded not guilty; Thao told the court pleading guilty would be a "lie and a sin."
Catch up quick: Derek Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes, was convicted of murder in April 2021. He pleaded guilty to separate, federal civil right charges that December and is serving a sentence of more than 20 years.
- Kueng and Thao, along with former officer Thomas Lane, were convicted in January of violating Floyd's civil rights by failing to intervene. All three are appealing the charges.
- Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter in May and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years.
Between the lines: Coverage of those court cases could once again complicate efforts to seat a jury of fair-minded individuals.
- Prospective jurors were asked to fill out a 17-page questionnaire that covers what they recall about Floyd's death, their impression of defendants, media habits and past interactions with police or protest movements.
What to watch: Kueng and Thao, who are already serving in federal prison on the civil rights charges, both rejected plea deals in exchange for three-years sentences in the criminal case.
- A conviction could result in recommended sentences of up to 12 1/2 years, per the Associated Press, though prosecutors have said they'd seek more time behind bars.
Flashback: The initial Chauvin trial in March 2021, sparked serious security measures, including barbed wire, fencing and road closures in downtown Minneapolis, and global media interest Many across the city were on edge about the prospect of large protests or unrest.
- This time, residents probably wouldn't realize a trial was happening without reading the news. A Hennepin County spokesperson said there will be no closures or significant changes to service at the Government Center building that houses the courthouse.
- Judge Peter Cahill, who also proceeded over the Chauvin trial, ruled against live streaming this time.
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