Judge: Ex-Cops in Floyd Killing Can't Get Fair Trial Right Now

Judge Peter Cahill delays trial of Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng until January
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2022 10:40 AM CDT
Judge Orders 7-Month Delay in Ex-Cops' Trial for Floyd Killing
A new George Perry Floyd Square sign is unveiled in front of hundreds of community members on May 25 in Minneapolis. The intersection where Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has been renamed in his honor, among a series of events to remember a man whose killing forced America to...   (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

The judge overseeing the remaining case of two former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's killing ordered Monday that the trial be delayed until January to improve prospects for a fair trial. Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng had been due to go on trial next Monday on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of Floyd. But Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill on Monday ordered that trial be delayed until Jan. 5, per the AP. Cahill denied a defense motion for a change of venue due to the extensive pretrial publicity surrounding the case. But he said media reports and recent events surrounding connected cases have created "a reasonable likelihood of an unfair trial" if it were to begin next week.

Cahill cited the May 18 guilty plea by Thao and Keung's co-defendant, former police officer Thomas Lane. He also cited the convictions of Thao, Kueng, and Lane on federal civil rights charges in a separate trial in federal court in February. The judge said those two events and the publicity surrounding them could make it difficult for jurors to presume that Thao and Kueng are innocent of the state charges against them. So, he ordered the seven-month delay to diminish the effects of that publicity. Cahill also presided over last year's trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, which ended in a conviction for second-degree murder and a 22 1/2-year sentence for the white officer who kneeled on the Black man’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes despite Floyd’s fading pleas of “I can’t breathe.” (More George Floyd stories.)

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