Jury selection is underway in the federal trial over Floyd’s death


ST. Paul, Minn. (AP)

Jury selection began Thursday during a federal trial against three former Minneapolis police officers who were charged with violating George Floyd’s constitutional rights while his colleague Derek Chauvin He used his knee to push Mr. Black into the street.

J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao We widely charge with the revocation of Floyd’s citizenship while acting under the authority of the government. Separately, they were charged before state court with aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter.

Legal experts say the federal trial will be more complicated than the state trial, scheduled for June 13, because prosecutors, in this case, have the difficult task of proving the officers willfully violated Floyd’s constitutional rights – unreasonably arresting him and depriving him of his liberty. him without proper procedure.

“In the state case, they are accused of what they did. That they supported and helped Chauvin in some way. In the federal case, they’re charged for something they didn’t do – and that’s an important distinction. It’s a different kind of accountability,” said Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor and professor at St. Thomas said.

Phil Turner, another former federal prosecutor, said prosecutors must show that officers should do something to stop Chauvin, rather than show they did something directly to Floyd.

The jurors will answer an extensive questionnaire. Starting Thursday, they will be placed in a federal courtroom in St. Paul, where US District Judge Paul Magnuson will question them in groups. The process will continue until a group of 40 people is selected. Then each side will use their challenges to attack the jurors. In the end, 18 jurors will be selected, including 12 who will weigh in and six who will substitute.

Magnuson said he thinks the process can be done in two days, unlike the state trial for Chauvin, where the judge and attorneys questioned each juror individually and spent more than two weeks choosing one. jury.

Floyd, 46 years old, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with his knee to Floyd’s neck for 9 and a half minutes while Floyd was face down, handcuffed and gasping for air. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held him back. Thao does not allow outsiders to interfere.

Chauvin was convicted in April of murder and manslaughter and is serving a 22-and-a-half year sentence. In December, he pleaded guilty before a federal official violate Floyd’s rights.

Federal prosecutions of officers involved in homicides in the line of duty are rare. Prosecutors face a high legal standard to show that an officer knowingly takes away someone’s constitutional rights; an accident, bad judgment or negligence is not enough to support federal charges.

Basically, prosecutors have to prove that the officers knew what they were doing was wrong, but still did it.

Kueng, Lane and Thao were all charged with knowingly depriving an officer of immunity from an officer who was intentionally indifferent to his medical needs. The indictment says that the three men saw Floyd clearly in need of medical attention and were unable to save him.

Thao and Kueng were also charged with a second count of intentionally violating Floyd’s right not to be arrested without cause by failing to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. It’s not clear why Lane wasn’t mentioned among them, but evidence suggests he asked twice whether Floyd should lie on his side.

Both charges allege the actions of officers led to Floyd’s death.

Federal civil rights violations that result in death are punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty, but such severe sentences are extremely rare and federal sentencing guidelines are based on Complex formulas suggest that officers will receive much less if convicted.

“This trial will present an evolutionary step beyond what we saw at the Chauvin trial because we are not looking at the killer, but the killers. And that’s one step closer to the culture of the set,” Osler said.

Copyright 2022 Fort Myers Broadcasting Company. Copyright Registered. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent. Jury selection is underway in the federal trial over Floyd’s death


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