State, cops seek to bar evidence in trial over Floyd killing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Prosecutors and attorneys for the two former Minneapolis police officers charged with the murder of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence at trial. Floyd’s death.

J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with complicity in second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Of jury selection starts October 24th, both parties use what they have learned in the previous processes to try to shape the procedure in their favor. Hearings on the motions are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Defense attorney Mike Brandt, who is not involved in the case, said it is typical maneuvering for the two sides to guess what the other will introduce and try to gain an advantage. Kueng and Thao “have a better crystal ball,” he said.

Kueng, Thao and Thomas Lane were working with Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, when Chauvin, who is white, used his knee for more than nine minutes to pin Floyd’s neck to the sidewalk, while the 46-year-old black man said he couldn’t breathe and eventually grew still. still. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held on to his legs, and Thao stopped bystanders.

Floyd’s murder was captured on bystander video and sparked worldwide protests as part of a settlement for racial injustice.

Many of the requests stem from what has already happened in court. Tom Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, wants the judge to prohibit state witnesses from directly addressing jurors and asking them to take action as part of a demonstration, such as asking them to examine their own necks.

That comes after an expert in Chauvin’s trial, lung and critical care specialist Dr. Martin Tobin, at one point loosened his tie, put his hands on his own neck and encouraged jurors to do the same while explaining how he believed Floyd died. Jurors later said Tobin foresaw some of the most compelling evidence of the trial.

Tobin also shared a video of Floyd being held on the sidewalk and recorded what he was saying the moment Floyd died. And paramedic Derek Smith testified that after checking for a heartbeat and finding none: ‘In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead.” Thao’s attorney Bob Paule wants witnesses to be barred from calling Floyd dead until he was officially pronounced dead in a hospital. And Plunkett asks that all non-doctor testimonials be limited to treatments and observations, not to Floyd’s cause of death or characterization of whether he was dead or alive.

The state, meanwhile, wants to prevent the defense from introducing evidence about the men’s characters and families. That request comes after the federal trial, in which the defendants or their relatives spoke about their backgrounds, their volunteerism and how they overcame hardships — all evidence the state called irrelevant.

The state is also trying to withhold evidence as to whether Chauvin was qualified to be a field training officer — after questions were raised during the federal trial as part of a defense strategy to blame officer training for their actions that day.

The defense wants witnesses to be barred from testifying in uniform unless they testify as part of their job. That comes after Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter when she encountered Floyd’s arrest, testified in uniform at Chauvin’s trial. Paule said Hansen will testify as a bystander, and that if a person testifies under oath while in uniform, a jury could lead to falsely finding it more trustworthy.

The defense also wants an order banning witnesses from wearing signage after another state witness, Donald Williams, wore a T-shirt under his shirt that read “Black Excellence,” according to the defense, and was visible to at least one juror. . Paule also wants prosecutors barred from questioning Williams about his martial arts training and his understanding of a “blood choking” and how it affects breathing, saying Williams has no medical training.

The defense wants to exclude the state from questions that provoke emotional reactions, as prosecutors did during Chauvin’s trial, and they want to prohibit prosecutors from calling juvenile bystanders as witnesses, including a 9-year-old girl at the time.

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The defense says calling the child would further traumatize her, stir up emotions in the jury, and her testimony echoed what other bystanders said. The state has denied that the testimony of multiple bystanders is needed and that the diverse people on the street – an elderly man, teenagers and a young girl – show that it was not the dangerous mob the defense tried to portray in Chauvin’s trial. .

They also said that the fact that a 9-year-old girl knew Floyd was in distress shows how unreasonable the officers’ use of force was.

Kueng, Thao and Lane were convicted by federal court earlier this year for depriving Floyd of his right to medical care. Thao and Kueng were convicted on a second charge for failing to intervene and stop Chauvin.

In July, US District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Kueng to three years in prison and Thao to 3 1/2 years at the federal level. She reported to federal custody on Tuesday: Thao, who is Hmong American, is held in Lexington, Kentucky, and Kueng, who is black, is in Lisbon, Ohio.

Lane, who is white, avoided a state trial by pleading guilty in May to complicity in second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to three years on the state sentence, and 2 1/2 years on the federal sentence. He is serving both sentences simultaneously at a low-security federal prison camp in Littleton, Colorado.

Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter and was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison in 2021. pleaded guilty to a federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years on federal charges. He is currently serving sentences at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.


Find AP’s full coverage of George Floyd’s murder at:


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