A Minnesota judge in the case of four former police officers charged in the death of George Floyd instructed the attorneys, officials and family members involved to limit their public statements before the trials.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill did not issue an official gag order preventing attorneys on both sides from speaking publicly about the case. But he cautioned that if public statements continue, he will likely accept any request to move the trial out of Minneapolis to form an objective jury, The Associated Press reported.
“The court will not be happy to hear comments on these three areas: merit, evidence, and guilt or innocence,” the judge said.
Cahill asked Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank to use his position to keep officials quiet, and said that if they continue to speak, they will likely “have to withdraw (the trials) from Hennepin County and they should be aware of that.”
The judge also clarified that Floyd’s defense attorneys and family members should refrain from making public statements.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D), Governor of Minnesota Tim walzTimothy (Tim) James Walz Internal watchdog investigating whether the Air Force improperly used the plane to monitor protests: The Hill’s report 12:30 Report: Governors react when COVID-19 cases escalate Authorities investigate disruptions of police radios, networks during protests: MORE report (D) and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo publicly called Floyd’s death a “murder.”
The judge set a trial date for the ex-officers on March 8 if they are tried together.
Cahill also rejected the defense’s request to reconsider its previous decision to ban pre-trial proceedings from the chambers. She has not decided whether cameras will be allowed for the rehearsals themselves.
Former officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The video showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
Thomas Lane, 37, J. Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, were charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin in the murder. Chauvin and Thao are still in custody, while Lane and Kueng are free on bail.
Floyd’s death sparked a series of protests across the country calling for police reform following cases of brutality against blacks.