Prosecutors in the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights are trying to show that even bystanders knew the black man needed help, while officers failed to act as former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. Footage shown to jurors during the trial of J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao showed Floyd struggling with officers as they attempted to put him into a police vehicle, with officers holding the handcuffed man face down ground and Floyd gasping for breath as a growing group of onlookers warned that Chauvin was killing him. Floyd, 46, died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for 9½ minutes. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao held back bystanders, prosecutors say. Prosecutors argued in pretrial filings that even bystanders could see that Floyd was in serious need of medical attention and that officers, who had basic medical training, did not help.
Witness Charles McMillian wept on Tuesday as prosecutors released a video in which McMillian begs officers to let Floyd breathe, prompting a warning from the judge that prosecutors should avoid eliciting emotional reactions.
“I knew something bad was going to happen to Mr. Floyd,” McMillian said.
“What did you mean by that?” asked prosecutor Allen Slaughter.
“That he was going to die,” McMillian replied.
When questioned by defense attorneys, McMillian acknowledged he didn’t see or hear several things, including Lane asking if Floyd should be rolled onto his side and later doing chest compressions, and Kueng saying he wouldn’t. couldn’t find a pulse.
“You could only see or hear things from your perspective, couldn’t you?” Tom Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, asked.
Kueng, who is black; Lane, who is white; and Thao, who is Hmong American, are charged with depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights: all three are charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd, while Thao and Kueng face an additional charge for not arresting Chauvin, who is white. Both counts allege that the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death. Chauvin pleaded guilty in November to a federal civil rights violation.
The video shown to jurors came from police body cameras, street surveillance video and widely viewed bystander video that was also widely released during the state criminal trial that ultimately convicted Chauvin. for murder last year. Police had responded to a 911 call indicating that Floyd had attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store on May 25, 2020. His killing sparked global protests and a re-examination of racism and of the font.
Jenna Scurry, a 911 dispatcher in Minneapolis, testified that after Lane and Kueng responded, she called for them. They then called an ambulance with no lights or sirens, for a mouth injury. More than a minute later, Chauvin and Thao updated that call to ask for the ambulance to come with lights and sirens, but Scurry said he wasn’t told Floyd wasn’t breathing, n had no pulse and was unresponsive.
If she had known someone was having trouble breathing, Scurry said, she would have also called the fire department, because “sometimes they can get there quicker. … They can be almost anywhere in four minutes. Earlier, body camera video of Thao that was released during the testimony of the cashier who took the counterfeit note showed him shoving a bystander. Christopher Martin, 20, said he recorded about 30 seconds of video as bystanders yelled at Thao to check Floyd’s pulse, but stopped when Thao pushed the other man. Martin said he didn’t have a good view of Kueng or Lane.
During cross-examination of Martin, Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, noted that Thao raised his hand before pushing the man and that the man did not listen to Thao’s direction to get back on the sidewalk. Paule said that when Thao pushed the man, he pushed Thao’s hand away.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said the trial could last four weeks. Lane’s attorney said his client will testify, but it’s unclear whether Thao or Kueng will. It’s also unclear if Chauvin will testify, though many experts who spoke to The Associated Press believe he won’t.
Lane, Kueng and Thao will also face a separate trial in June for aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter. (AP) RUP RUP
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