MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A judge ruled Friday that no cameras would be allowed in court for a Monday pre-trial hearing for all four officers accused in George Floyd’s death.
WCCO along with other media has requested cameras be allowed. The officers attorneys want them too. They filed a motion on Friday calling them necessary for their clients to get a fair trial.
The killing of George Floyd is a high profile case. Coverage of his death has gone far beyond Minneapolis. It’s reached people around the world.
Attorneys representing former Minneapolis police officers charged in the case, Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Koeng and Thomas Lane, said in a motion it’s necessary to have video and audio during pre-trial and trial proceedings.
Earl Gray represents Thomas Lane.
“One of the methods of getting a fair trial is letting the public watch the whole trial,” Gray said.
The defense attorneys argue officials have made prejudicial comments.
“They’ve all professed their opinion that these police officers are guilty,” Gray said.
The motion names the Governor, along with the Attorney General, Hennepin County Attorney, Mayor of Minneapolis, Commissioner of Public Safety and Minneapolis Police Chief.
“We believe the evidence when it comes in will show that they’re innocent and not guilty. So how do you defend against when these political figures and power figures make, render opinions in the media that ruin your clients chance to have a fair trial and that’s all we’re asking for is a fair trial,” Gray said.
All sides must agree to cameras in court. The prosecution objected to visual and audio coverage during pre-trial proceedings.
The judge will consider the recordings during trial at another time.
Attorney General Keith Ellison responded, “I’m in full support of a public trial. It is critical for the public to be able to witness and observe the proceedings as they go forward in this critical matter. However, I believe cameras in the courtroom will create more problems than it will solve.”
“Cameras could alter the way the lawyers present evidence. Cameras in the courtroom could subject the participants in the trial to heightened media scrutiny and thereby be distracting to conducting the trial. Cameras may be intimidating to witnesses and impair their ability and willingness to testify, which may impact the jurors decision-making,” he said.
“In short, the likelihood of creating more sensation than understanding is very high. Therefore, I am not in favor of allowing cameras in the courtroom. I believe that journalists reporting on the trial will adequately inform the public without bringing forth a number of distracting matters that will undermine the cause of justice,” said Ellison.
WCCO reached out to the parties mentioned in the defense motion. No comment as of Friday afternoon.