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Opening statements began Monday, during the federal civil rights trial of the three lesser-known police officers involved in the murder of george floyd.
Now ex-officers Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are on trial in a court in St Paul, Minnesota’s state capital – after former white Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of Floyd, a 46 year old black maleand admitted violate their civil rights in May 2020, triggering the greatest racism account in recent American history.
Federal prosecutor Samantha Trepel, of the US Department of Justice’s civil rights division, said Thao, 35, Lane, 38, and Kueng, 27, broke their oaths with callous indifference to Floyd. She said the video captured how Kueng sometimes seemed more concerned about gravel lodged in the tire of the nearby police car than the man stuck under him repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.”
The three have pleaded not guilty in both their civil rights case and their state case, due later this year, in which they are charged with aiding and abetting the murder.
In the ongoing trial, they are accused of depriving George Floyd of his right “to be free from a police officer’s willful indifference to his serious medical needs”. depending on the charges.
Thao and Kueng are also accused of willfully failing “to intervene to stop the unreasonable use of force by the defendant Chauvin” when Floyd was unresponsive on the field.
“Today is another important step in George Floyd’s long, slow journey to justice,” Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing his loved ones, said in a statement: “This trial will be another experience painful for the Floyd family, who must once again relive his grueling death in excruciating detail.
A wide radius of security fencing, tight police patrols and road closures are in effect outside the federal courthouse amid mass protest concerns.
Floyd’s murder broke major events across america and in many other countrieslike the US Black Lives Matter movement revived and propagated, although some of the protests against police brutality and more broadly entrenched racism have often been severely reduced by the police.