MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The state trial for three of the former officers charged in George Floyd’s death has been postponed until March of 2022 to make way for a federal trial on civil rights charges.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane face charges in state court of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Originally, their trial was scheduled to take place on Aug. 23, but Judge Peter Cahill pushed it back until March 7 of 2022.
The decision comes in the wake of federal civil rights charges filed on Friday against the officers and Derek Chauvin. The indictment says Chauvin’s actions – as well as Thao and Kueng’s lack of intervention – directly led to Floyd’s death, and that all the officers violated his constitutional rights while they were acting under color of law.
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A Hennepin County jury found Chauvin guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. On Wednesday Judge Peter Cahill ruled that prosecutors proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” some aggravated sentencing factors, including cruelty.
Chauvin could face a longer sentence than the guidelines indicate, which currently are a minimum of 12 and a half years, because of the aggravating factors. But in federal court the penalties for some counts range up to life in prison. Cahill said because of those stiffer sentences in federal court it makes sense for that trial to go first.
Cahill said he also wanted to put distance between the trial of the other three officers, and all the publicity surrounding Chauvin’s trial and his sentencing on June 25.
The former officers waived their right to appear in Thursday’s hearing.