George Floyd: Court hearing today for four former police officers charged in killing

Andrew Naughtie
Hennepin County Jail/AFP via Get

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who stands accused of the murder of George Floyd, faces a pretrial hearing today, along with the three other officers involved in Mr Floyd’s killing.

Mr Chauvin was first fired and then arrested after he was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes to the point where he lost consciousness and ultimately died. He now faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The other three officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, will appear person; they all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The upcoming hearing is an omnibus hearing, at which prosecutors present their evidence and defence teams can file any pretrial motions they wish to submit.

Among the details of the case that have emerged since the killing is the fact that Mr Floyd and Mr Chauvin both provided security at the same Minneapolis nightclub. While it is unclear to what extent the two men knew each other, one fellow security employee reported that the two had “bumped heads”, while the club owner has said Mr Chauvin was “afraid and intimidated” by black people.

It is as yet unknown whether claims such as these will be introduced by the prosecution. There is also the matter of the two conflicting autopsies of Mr Floyd’s body, one conducted by the county medical examiner and the other commissioned privately by the family. Both concluded that his death was a homicide, but they differed on the precise causes.

The Minneapolis police department’s slowness to take action against the four officers helped fuel what became a nationwide uprising of anti-racist protests, many of which were met with police violence. For now, Mr Chauvin and Mr Thao remain in custody, while Mr Lane and Mr Keung have been released on bond.