News and Commentary

Judge Approves Separate Trial For Ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Who Kneeled On George Floyd’s Neck
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION AND DATE: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the death of George Floyd . Bail for Chauvin, who is charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, is set at $500,000. The death sparked riots and protests in cities throughout the country after Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (Photo by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

The former Minneapolis police officer that placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck before his death in May will be tried separately from three other former officers charged in Floyd’s death.

Derek Chauvin, charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, will stand trial in March, and the three other officers charged with aiding and abetting each crime will face trial in the summer, according to The Associated Press. The trials of the former officers were split up to make more room in the courtroom to abide by coronavirus protocols and restrictions.

Prosecutors argued against holding two trials, while the defense attorneys for at least one former officer, Thomas Lane, said that holding a separate trial for Chauvin would ultimately be better for his own client.

According to The Associated Press: “Legal observers say the change benefits Chauvin’s co-defendants, who will get a preview of what the state’s witnesses will say and more time to prepare. They’ll also blame Chauvin, who won’t be on trial with them to push back.”

Floyd died in May while in police custody. During Floyd’s arrest, Chauvin had placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes to subdue Floyd, who has pushed himself out of the back of a police cruiser.

Floyd’s toxicology report found methamphetamines and fentanyl in his system. Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who performed Floyd’s autopsy, said that evidence suggests that Floyd died of a drug overdose, according to court documents. The medical examiner concluded that Floyd’s death was a homicide, however. As The Daily Wire reported in August:

New court documents have uncovered two memorandums, dated May 26 and June 1, that suggest Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker concluded George Floyd likely died from a fentanyl overdose and found “no physical evidence suggesting” that he died of asphyxiation.

“AB (Andrew Baker) said that if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he would conclude that it was an overdose death,” says a memo dated June 1, outlining a May 31 virtual with Dr. Baker.

The memos seemingly run contrary to the Armed Forces medical examiner and Hennepin County medical examiner’s final conclusion that Floyd’s death was a homicide.

“His death was caused by the police subdual and restraint in the setting of severe hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and methamphetamine and fentanyl intoxication,” the Armed Forces medical examiner found, according to FOX 9.

Floyd’s death set off a massive public reaction. Black Lives Matter protests and riots hit Americans cities causing billions of dollars-worth of damage, destroying small businesses, and costing many lives. The protests and riots raged throughout the summer as activists called for municipalities to “defund the police” over allegations of sweeping systemic racism.

Cities such as Portland, New York, and Austin have ceded to some of the protesters’ demands and passed budget cuts to their police forces. Those police forces and others in cities that have passed similar budget cuts are now experiencing a sharp uptick in violent crime.

Related: These 5 Cities “Defunded” The Police… Now Violent Crime Rates Are Soaring

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