Only 1 family member from Floyd, Chauvin families to be allowed in courtroom
The highly anticipated trial kicks off on March 8
George Floyd’s family is disappointed that a judge ruled on Monday, only one family member can be in the Minneapolis courtroom during the highly anticipated trial due to COVID-19 restrictions. The same goes for former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s family.
“The family is looking forward to the start of the trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives,” said Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, Floyd family attorneys, in a statement, per CNN.
Everyone in attendance is expected to wear a mask and social distance. Witnesses and attorneys may only remove their masks to give statements.
“This has been a deeply painful and emotional year for every member of the Floyd family, many of whom intended to be in the courtroom to witness this trial. While they understand the judge’s reasons to limit attendance in the courtroom, the family is understandably disappointed by this ruling.”
With appropriate credentials, family members can rotate per Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill‘s ruling. The trial will also be broadcast live for those who cannot attend.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd, which is set to kick off on March 8 with jury selection.
The pandemic is also why Chauvin’s trial is separate from the other three officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, also on trial for Floyd’s murder. They have all pled not guilty to aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Judge Cahill said “physical limitations” in the courtroom would make it impossible to hold them all together. They will stand trial in the summer.
As reported by theGrio, the ruling of the case is on the country’s radar.
City officials had blockades installed to control potential protests at the Hennepin County Courthouse, the Minneapolis City Hall building, and the Hennepin County Jail.
Per TMZ, concrete barriers, non-scalable fencing, and barbed wire are being erected around the buildings, as well as plexiglass installments for COVID-19 safety precautions.
In October, a judge granted Chauvin permission to leave Minnesota due to “safety concerns” as he awaits trial for his role in the death of George Floyd. Under the conditions of his revised release, Chauvin had to “establish residency somewhere in the State of Minnesota or a contiguous state as soon as possible.”
Chauvin was arrested in May 2020 and charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death. Bystander video, which quickly went viral, saw him placing a knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes until he lost consciousness and died.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd begged in one video. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”
Floyd’s death led to nationwide and global protests over police brutality and race relations.
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