Prosecutors in the civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis police officers in connection with the killing of George Floyd asked the judge to open at least part of Friday’s hearing on the admissibility of some evidence.
On Thursday, the jury convened in one day in the case of Tou Tao, J. Kuang and Thomas Lane, who are charged with depriving Floyd of his rights when he acted on government orders. Opening statements on Monday.
Judge Paul Magnuson limited access to the trial to five media seats and a small number of defendants’ families, with other media and the general public in a crowded room with a closed channel that has limited viewing. Magnuson cited the coronavirus pandemic and dismissed earlier media attempts to expand access.
Prosecution filings say Friday’s hearing concerns defense motions to exclude certain evidence, including still images from video of Floyd’s arrest on May 25, 2020; parallel exhibits that will play two videos at the same time; and dispatching and 911 calls.
Prosecutors said they have been advised that the hearing will be closed as the parties review evidence that will be presented but may not be accepted in court. But they said both sides agreed that the visual content is acceptable, and the exclusion request is only about the prosecutor’s proposal on how it is displayed. And they said the dispatch and the 911 calls didn’t need to be played at Friday’s hearing.
Their documents state that neither side requested the closure.
Under long-standing federal court rules, the trial is not broadcast live or broadcast to the public, unlike last year’s state court murder trial of Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis officer who pinned Floyd to the sidewalk with his knee. his neck despite the black man’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe. The judge in this case made an exception to the state’s usual restrictions on cameras, citing the need for public access during a pandemic.
Magnuson had previously turned down a media coalition’s request for same-day access to trial exhibits. He said he would decide on the release of that physical evidence at the end of the case and consider factors such as the defendants’ right to a fair trial in state court for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter, which is about to begin. June 13th.