Jury selection begins in federal trial over Floyd’s death

By Amy Forliti and Steve Karnowski | Related press

ST. Paul, Minn. – Jury selection begins Thursday in a federal trial against three Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd, with the judge repeatedly stressing that his colleague should not be convicted. Officer Derek Chauvin on murder charges and pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations affecting the proceedings.

J. Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao are accused of broadly depriving Floyd of his citizenship while acting under the government’s orders when Chauvin pushed the Black man into the street with his knee. Separately, they are charged before state court with aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter in a video-recorded murder that has sparked worldwide protests, violence and scrutiny. policy and racism.

Legal experts say the federal trial will be more complicated than the state trial, scheduled for June 13, as prosecutors in the case have the daunting task of proving the officers. authorities knowingly violated Floyd’s constitutional rights – unreasonably arresting him and depriving him of his liberty without due process. .

Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor, said prosecutors must prove that officers should have done something to stop Chauvin, rather than they did something directly to Floyd.

Those who will be the jury, who answered an extensive questionnaire, were brought into the St. Paul joined the group on Thursday, and U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson questioned them until 40 were selected. Now, each side can use its challenges to attack the jurors. In the end, 18 jurors will be selected, including 12 who will weigh in and six substitutes.

Among the jurors from which Magnuson was excused was a man who said he had trouble watching video of Floyd’s arrest. Several other defense jurors say they cannot be impartial, including one man who said his faith prevents him from judging a person.

A woman has been exonerated after she said she struggled with vandalism in the community. Magnuson later said that he understood such concerns about “anarchy in the streets” but “that fear is out of control in the courtroom.”

Magnuson also told jurors that they should be able to decide the case based on its own evidence, ignoring anything else. He singled out a number of jurors by number and explicitly asked them if they could do so, saying he was “beating and beating and beating” because state law and different federations and he wanted to make sure they could be objective.

Jury pool for the federal trial of officers selected from across the state – more conservative and less diverse than the Minneapolis area from which the jury for Chauvin’s state trial was drawn . That jury is divided equally between whites and non-whites. A federal court denied a request for demographic information about jurors in a civil rights trial.

Magnuson said he believes jury selection can take two days, unlike Chauvin’s state trial, where the judge and attorneys questioned each juror and spent more than two weeks choosing one. jury.

Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 and a half minutes while Floyd was face down, handcuffed and gasping for air. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held him back. Thao does not allow outsiders to interfere.

A statement from attorneys for Floyd’s family on Thursday said the video outside shows the three officers “directly contributing to (Floyd’s) death and did not intervene to prevent the senseless killing” and that families expect them to be held accountable.

Several activists gathered in front of the court to call for convictions.

Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend said at the time of his death: “Considering the fact that he groaned in pain, that he couldn’t breathe for several minutes straight until he passed, I believe the fact that they denied his citizenship,” said Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend at the time of his death. . “I ask for justice and I hope people remember what they did that day.”

Federal prosecutors face a high legal standard for showing that an officer knowingly takes away someone’s constitutional rights. Basically, prosecutors have to prove that the officers knew what they were doing was wrong, but still did it.

Magnuson said he expected the trial to last four weeks.

Kueng, Lane and Thao were all charged with knowingly depriving an officer of immunity from an officer who was intentionally indifferent to his medical needs. The indictment says that the three men found Floyd in need of medical attention and were unable to help him.

Thao and Kueng were also charged with a second count of intentionally violating Floyd’s right not to be arrested without cause by failing to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. It’s not clear why Lane wasn’t mentioned among them, but evidence suggests he asked twice whether Floyd should lie on his side. Jury selection begins in federal trial over Floyd’s death

Huynh Nguyen

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