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Three Former Minneapolis Police Officers Testified That They Were Unconcerned About George Floyd’s Pleas.! Latest News! Viral News!

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Reuters) – ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan 24 (Reuters) – Three former Minneapolis police officers violated the law by failing to intervene in Derek Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd during an arrest and by being callous to the dying pleadings of the restrained Black man, a prosecutor told a jury Monday during opening comments in the federal trial.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane are charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights during his detention on a road outside a Minneapolis grocery store in May 2020, which provoked worldwide public rallies against racism and police brutality.

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Federal prosecutor Samantha Trepel of the United States Department of Justice’s civil rights section said that the defendants violated their oath by showing callous disregard for Floyd. According to her, CCTV recorded Kueng appearing more worried with some pebbles lodged in the tyre of a neighbouring police car than with the man beneath him continuously shouting, “I can’t breathe.”

Derek Chauvin, 45, the defendants’ former coworker, was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death last year after a nationally broadcast state trial in April 2021 and was sentenced to 22-1/2 years in prison by a Minnesota judge.

Chauvin, who is white, was also charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights in his role as a police officer by federal prosecutors. Chauvin entered a guilty plea in December. Thao, Kueng, and Lane have all pled not guilty and risk years in prison if convicted.

“For more than nine minutes, each of the three defendants made a deliberate choice not to act,” Trepel testified. “They chose not to act and stop Chauvin as he slowly murdered a man in broad daylight on a public street.”

She stated that the police had taken an oath to care for those in their custody and were legally compelled to arrest Chauvin.

Three Former Minneapolis Police Officers Testified That They Were Unconcerned About George Floyd's Pleas.! Latest News! Viral News!
Three Former Minneapolis Police Officers Testified That They Were Unconcerned About George Floyd’s Please.! Latest News! Viral News!

Defence attorneys argue that the three defendants had the right and obligation to arrest Floyd on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase cigarettes and are not criminally accountable for Chauvin’s actions.

“The murder of Mr Floyd is very tragic,” Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, stated in his opening comments, describing the dangers police officers confront when making arrests. “However, tragedy is not the same as a crime.”

‘DELIBERATE DISTINCTION’

Prosecutors are attempting to persuade a jury in the United States District Court in St. Paul that the men purposefully neglected to assist Floyd during Chauvin’s “slow-motion killing.” According to the indictment, an arrestee has the right to be “liberated from a police officer’s purposeful indifference to his significant medical needs.”

Thao, 36, and Kueng, 28, face an additional allegation in the indictment, which alleges that they knowingly refused to intervene when Chauvin used excessive force against a prone, handcuffed Floyd, thereby violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure.

Thao had spent eight years with the Minneapolis Police Department. Lane, 38, and Kueng, who assisted in restraining Floyd’s lower torso, had joined the department only a few months before the arrest, with Chauvin serving as their field training officer.

Kueng was a “rookie officer” on his third shift and was let down by his superiors due to “inadequate training,” his attorney Thomas Plunkett testified. He was up in a multiracial household and intended to transform the police force “from within,” Plunkett said.

Other Minneapolis police officers would testify that the three defendants were educated in administering medical help to people in their custody and were instructed that merely shifting Floyd onto his side may have saved his life, Trepel said.

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They will also hear from some of the terrified spectators who yelled at officers to check Floyd’s pulse repeatedly while he said he couldn’t breathe, Trepel said.

“When Mr Floyd lost his capacity to communicate, the people on the sidewalk rallied to his defence,” Trepel testified. “They realised that unless something changed, he would die just by watching his body grow limp, listening to his words, and finally listening to his quiet.”

Following the federal trial, the three men face a state trial on charges of aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder.

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