MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – George Floyd’s family, along with civil rights attorney Ben Crump, gathered outside of the Family Justice Center in downtown Minneapolis following a nearly four-hour pre-trial hearing.

The hearing addressed a variety of state motions, including a motion for a joint trial for defendant officers and motions for a change of venue and jury sequestration. During the hearing, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, among other members of his office for their “sloppy” work.

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At one point, Defense Attorney Plunket also alleged Floyd had taken drugs during the fatal encounter with police, and the defense of the four officers claimed he had swallowed fentanyl during the encounter.

“The only overdose that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force and racism by the Minneapolis Police Department,” said Crump in response. The statement was met with cheers of support from the crowd. “Multiple autopsies determined that he died of asphyxiation because of the officers kneeling on his back and neck.”

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“It is a classic police defense to blame the dead and claim that suspects with any amount of drugs in their system were responsible for their own death,” he said.

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“We get killed, and then we get killed again in court,” said Attorney Justin Miller. “This is what we want to stop. An assassination and then a character assassination.”

“That overdose that they’re claiming is the false narrative of this case,” added Attorney Tony Romanucci. “They want to coincidently say that whatever drugs were in his system killed him at the same time the knee on his neck and the pressure on his back killed him.”

During the press conference, Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd also spoke.

“Just sitting here being in Minnesota is hard,” said Philonise Floyd. “We shouldn’t have to be here because of George. He should be alive. He didn’t die of natural causes. He died because of a knee on his neck.”

The Floyds also thanked those who are supporting them. They are suing the former officers and the city. The United States Department of Justice and state are also conducting civil rights investigations.

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The trial for Floyd’s case is scheduled for March 8, 2021.

Jennifer Mayerle