Ex-Minneapolis cops charged in George Floyd’s death turn on each other

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Actions by the attorneys for the former Minneapolis Police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd are indicating that the men are blaming each other. 

All four defendants will appear in person in court for the first time today.

The four former Minneapolis Police officers charged over the death of George Floyd are pictured: (from left) Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Attorneys for the fired officers have filed motions for four separate trials and for those trials to be moved out of the city of Minneapolis. Those motions will be addressed at the hearing. 

Hennepin County prosecutors maintain that the four should be tried together. 

2020 US Open - Day 9
Naomi Osaka of Japan wears a mask bearing the name of police shooting victim George Floyd during an interview following her Women’s Singles quarterfinals match win against Shelby Rogers Tuesday at the 2020 U.S. Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images )

Earl Gray, the attorney for Thomas Lane, filed two motions on Tuesday. In the first, he argued for a second trial for his client, saying that it’s “plausible that all officers have a different version of what happened.” In the second, he asked for the trial to be moved. 

Lane, 37, had only been on the job four days when Floyd died after a veteran officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds and ignored the man as he said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. Lane is charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s killing. 

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J. Alexander Kueng, the Black officer on the scene, had been on the job for three days. In a profile of his family by The New York Times, his sister, Radiance, said that as a Black man, her brother should have intervened.

“He knows right from wrong,” she said. 

Kueng’s attorney has also filed a motion that the charges against him be dismissed, however, that motion won’t be addressed at the hearing scheduled for today. He, too, is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. 

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Former officer Tou Thao faces the same charges. His attorney has argued that his role in the slaying was “absolutely distinct” from the others, as he was on crowd control while the other three restrained Floyd. 

Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. He has been held in state custody, and the hearing will mark the first time he has been seen in court. 

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His attorney, Eric Nelson, says his client needs a new trial because he will have to defend himself differently.

“The other defendants are clearly saying that, if a crime was committed, they neither knew about it nor assisted in it,” Nelson wrote in his motion. “They blame Chauvin.”

Prosecutors argue that four separate trials would be traumatizing to the Floyd family and claim it would be more efficient and in the greater interest of justice to hold one proceeding. 

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