Minneapolis, MN – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider his decision to allow full live broadcasting of the trial of the officers accused in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd.
Ellison, who has publicly expressed support for antifa and other anti-police groups, took over as the lead prosecutor in June for the murder case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
On Nov. 5, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled that he would allow live audio and video coverage of the trials of former Officers Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, WCCO reported.
Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.
On June 3, former Minneapolis Police Officers Thao, Lane, and Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd’s arrest.
The decision to allow the coverage of their trial is unprecedented, KMSP reported.
Minnesota courts have historically blocked video of court proceedings except for during sentencings under limiting conditions.
Defense attorneys for the four officers have argued that video coverage of the trial is the only way to ensure the defendants get a fair trial and the judge agreed to allow the proceedings to be filmed and broadcasted live, KMSP reported.
But the attorney general has filed a motion asking Cahill to reconsider that decision.
The judge had previously granted prosecutors’ motion to join the four cases together and hold only one trial but denied the defense’s motion for a change of venue, KMSP reported.
Lawyers for all four former officers have made motions to have the trial moved out of Hennepin County where Floyd died.
Outrage over Floyd’s death sparked riots that spread across the entire country and led to violent looting and burning in many cities.
Defense attorneys have argued that pretrial publicity and the incredible devastation to Minneapolis and the nearby state capital of St. Paul would make it impossible for their clients to have a fair trial, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
They pointed to what happened at their Sept. 11 hearing when a massive crowd of protesters outside the courthouse could be clearly heard inside the courtroom.
Lawyers for the accused officers have said witnesses might be intimidated and jurors could be influenced by the chaos happening outside within earshot.
But Cahill refused to grant the change of venue but said he would rehear arguments on the matter at a future date “subsequent to the presentation of additional evidence and briefs on the issue,” WCCO reported.
The trial is scheduled to begin in Hennepin County on March 8, according to KMSP.
The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.