St. Paul asks to move trial of cops charged with George Floyd murder

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Officials in one Minnesota city want to hot potato the trial of four ex-cops facing federal charges in the 2020 death of George Floyd to Minneapolis.

The trial of the former Minneapolis police officers indicted for civil rights violations is set to take place in St. Paul, but city officials are requesting the trial be moved to its Twin City.

Minneapolis, which hosted the murder trial for Derek Chauvin earlier this year, is where the crime occurred, according to the Star Tribune. Chauvin is one of the four officers to stand trial.

“The Minneapolis federal courthouse is a more ideal location to hold this extremely high-profile federal trial,” St. Paul Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher wrote to US District Chief Judge John Tunheim and District Clerk Kate Fogarty, according to e-mails obtained by the paper. “The fact that the Minneapolis location already has a fully developed and tested security plan is certainly at the top of the list.”

US District Judge Paul Magnuson, whose chambers are in St. Paul, will to preside over the trial, which is scheduled to begin in January 2022. Cases are randomly assigned to federal judges in order to keep workloads even and so lawyers cannot choose their own judges, Tunheim told the Tribune.

Derek Chauvin was previously charged with second degree murder in the death of George Floyd.
AP

Tincher wrote in the email that the St. Paul  courthouse, which dates from the 1960s, is much smaller than Minneapolis’, and may not be able to transport the defendants to and from the courthouse out of public view. There would not be ample space in the surrounding grounds for expected demonstrations, according to the Tribune.

She noted the courthouse is just blocks away from two schools and two day-care centers. 

If protests were to expand beyond the area of the courthouse, such as at the State Capital, she said the cities resources would be stretched thin, she wrote in the email.

On Friday, she asked the city’s departments to provide a cost estimate for hosting the trial.

Demonstrators gather outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis to celebrate the murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
AP / John Minchillo

According to the Star Tribune, Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, spent $3.7 million on security and salaries during Chauvin’s trial in April. He was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The Minneapolis Police Department spent $2.9 million in overtime pay, the report said.

Former Minneapolis Police Officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, and Chauvin have pleaded not guilty to charges from the Justice Department for violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure, after Chauvin pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes while he was being apprehended, killing him. The other officers did not intervene, video from the scene shows.

Those three officers are additionally facing state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter for not providing Floyd medical assistance. Their trial is scheduled for March.



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