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Opening statements in civil rights trial over George Floyd's death

01/24/2022 | 05:39pm EDT

Three former cops broke the law by failing to stop fellow ex-cop Derek Chauvin from killing George Floyd, and were indifferent to Floyd's dying pleas...

This is what a prosecutor argued in a federal courtroom Monday during opening statements of the trial of three former Minneapolis officers.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are each charged with violating Floyd's civil rights during his arrest outside a grocery store in May of 2020...

Video of which sparked street protests against racism and police brutality around the world.

Federal prosecutor Samantha Trepelm from the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division said the defendants had broken their oath with a callous indifference to Floyd.

Telling the jury (quote):

"For more than nine minutes, each of the three defendants made a conscious choice over and over again not to act.

Last year, the defendants' former colleague Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death at the end of a nationally televised state trial - with a Minnesota judge sentencing him to 22-1/2 years in prison.

Chauvin, who is white, was also charged alongside his colleagues by federal prosecutors with violating Floyd's civil rights in their capacity as police officers. Chauvin changed his plea to guilty last December. Thao, Kueng and Lane, who could face years in prison if convicted, have all pleaded not guilty.

Defense lawyers say the three defendants had a right and a duty to arrest Floyd on suspicion he used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes, and were not criminally liable for Chauvin's conduct...

One of them adding in opening statement... "The death of Mr. Floyd is indeed a tragedy.... However, a tragedy is not a crime."


ę Reuters 2022
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