Three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting their peer in the death of George Floyd had their trial date pushed back to March 2022, the Associated Press reported of a judge’s ruling on Thursday. Thomas Lane and J. Kueng are accused of restraining Floyd while Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, causing the Black father’s death on May 25 outside of the Cup Foods convenience store. Tou Thao is accused of preventing bystanders from helping Floyd and keeping them away from the police encounter.
While a jury convicted Chauvin last month, Judge Peter Cahill, the same judge who presided over Chauvin’s case, decided to push back the trial of the other officers to allow for a federal case building against them to play out. Lane, Kueng, and Thao, who were originally set to stand trial Aug. 23, are also facing federal charges that they violated Floyd’s civil rights in the violent arrest.
Cahill determined in a sentencing order for Chauvin that although it’s unclear whether Lane, Kueng, and Thao knowingly had the “intent and knowledge necessary to establish that they are ‘offenders,'” they were “actively involved” in the encounter.
Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter who lived in the area of Cup Foods, testified during Chauvin’s trial that Thou prevented her from helping even after she told him her profession. His response, Hansen said was: “’If you really are a Minnesota firefighter you would know better than to get involved.’”
The firefighter said had officers let her help, she would’ve called for additional help and sent someone to a gas station to find an automated external defibrillator. She said she would’ve checked Floyd’s airways for blockages and checked his pulse. She said if she couldn’t find a pulse, she would’ve done chest compressions until help arrived. When the prosecution asked Hansen if she felt frustrated, she started crying. “Yes,” she replied, grabbing a tissue.
At another point in the trial, David Fowler, a forensic pathologist brought in by Chauvin’s defense as an expert witness, testified that even if Chauvin and other officers weren’t on Floyd’s neck, their weight on a person’s abdomen or torso could also cause compressional or positional asphyxia, a lack of oxygen flow to the brain—what experts determined killed Floyd. “If it exceeds the limits of 225 pounds as found by multiple studies, then yes your argument is correct,” Fowler said responding to the question from the prosecution.
In short, Chauvin’s trial isn’t doing his accused peers any favors. All three officers have pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors are trying to add third-degree murder to their charges as well, according to CNN.