George Floyd murder trial to be broadcast on UK TV channel

·3-min read
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 11: Demonstrators gather outside the Hennepin County Family Justice Center on September 11, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A pretrial hearing was held at the facility today for the four former Minneapolis Police officers charged in the death of George Floyd on May 25. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gathered outside the Hennepin County Family Justice Center on 11 September as pretrial hearing was held for the four former Minneapolis Police officers charged in the death of George Floyd. (Getty Images)

The trial of four police officers accused of killing George Floyd will be broadcast in the UK as part of a new series dedicated to covering court action.

The forthcoming trial of the Minneapolis men is one of the highlights promoted by the production company behind Court TV, which launched on Wednesday on Sky.

Floyd’s death on 25 May triggered protests and riots across the US and led to demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe.

Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck for nine minutes.

Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter, while three others – Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – face charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Former Minneapolis police officers (clockwise from top left) Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng poses in a combination of booking photographs from the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.  Minnesota Department of Corrections and Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS IMAGE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY, AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY.
The trial of former Minneapolis police officers (clockwise from top left) Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng for the killing of George Floyd will be broadcast in the UK. (Reuters)
George Floyd (Photo credit: Ben Crump Law)
George Floyd (Ben Crump Law)

Court TV ran for 27 years from 1991 in America. It was relaunched two years ago by Katz Networks and the EW Scripps Company, and is now airing in Britain.

Another forthcoming case on Court TV centres around three white men accused of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot while jogging through his south Georgia neighbourhood.

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Jonathan Katz, president of the Katz Network, said: “There’s been nothing like Court TV in the United Kingdom until now.

MANHATTAN, NY - JUNE 19:  Thousands of protesters walk in a peaceful protest across the Brooklyn Bridge holding signs and painted portraits of George Floyd and a protester in the foreground with a raised fist with the Brooklyn Bridge Arch in the background.  This was part of the Unite NY 2020, Bringing all of New York Together rally and march as protests that happened around the country to celebrate Juneteenth day which marks the end of slavery in the United States. Protesters continue taking to the streets across America and around the world after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer Derek Chauvin that was kneeling on his neck during for eight minutes, was caught on video and went viral.  During his arrest as Floyd pleaded, "I Can't Breathe". The protest are attempting to give a voice to the need for human rights for African American's and to stop police brutality against people of color.  They are also protesting deep-seated racism in America.   Many people were wearing masks and observing social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Photographed in the Manhattan Borough of New York on June 19, 2020, USA.  (Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)
The death of George Floyd sparked worldwide anti-racism demonstrations. (Corbis via Getty Images)

“We anticipate viewers in the UK will embrace having a front-row seat to American criminal justice.”

Trial coverage will air at primetime in the UK to allow for the time difference between the UK and US. Court TV is planning content for the UK to explain the differences between the two countries’ justice systems, including why cameras are allowed in courtrooms in the US, but not in the UK.

The former officers appeared in court on 11 September for a hearing on the prosecution's request to hold a joint trial, a defence request to move the trial out of Minneapolis, and other issues.

Prosecutors told a judge that the men should face trial together because the evidence and charges against them are similar, and multiple trials could traumatise witnesses and Floyd's family.

But defence lawyers have argued for separate trials, saying they could offer "antagonistic" defences and the evidence against one officer could negatively affect another.

The full trial is expected to begin in 2021.

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