A judge in Minnesota has upheld his decision to livestream the trial against four ex-Minneapolis police officers who stand accused in connection with the death of George Floyd.
The trial of Derek Chauvin, 44, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, is set to take place in March 2021, however attorneys for two of the former officers have asked for the trial to be delayed until summer.
“Without question, deprivation of the constitutional rights that are the hallmarks of a public criminal trial would be a ‘manifest injustice,’" Cahill wrote.
“The only real issue then, is whether there is a reasonable alternative to televising the trial that would vindicate the defendants' Sixth Amendment rights and the First Amendment rights of the public and the press… The court concludes that televising the trial is the only reasonable and meaningful method to safeguard the Sixth and First Amendment rights implicated in these cases,” the judge added.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. Lane, Kueng, and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
All four officers were fired after Floyd’s death.
Floyd’s death was classified by a county medical examiner as a homicide, with his heart stopping while he was restrained by police and his neck compressed. A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.”
According to prosecutors’ notes, Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker told prosecutors that absent other apparent causes of death, it “could be acceptable” to rule the death an overdose, based on the level of fentanyl in Floyd’s system. A separate autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family concluded he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.