The trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting over the death of George Floyd will be pushed back to March 2022, a judge has ruled.
Thomas Lane, J Kueng and Tou Thao were scheduled to face trial on August 23rd on charges they aided and abetted both murder and manslaughter.
The officers' co-defendant, Derek Chauvin, has already been convicted of murder and manslaughter counts.
All four officers also face federal charges that allege they violated Mr Floyd’s civil rights during his May 25th arrest.
Judge Peter Cahill said he changed the date so the federal case can go forward first. He also said he felt the need to put some distance between the three officers' trial and Chauvin's due to all the publicity around the case.
The news that the trial was being pushed back came during a hearing on pre-trial motions. Defence lawyers for all three former officers agreed to the postponement. The state, via assistant attorney general Matthew Frank, did not support the delay.
It was not made clear at Thursday’s motions hearing who originally sought the change.
Chauvin, who was seen in widely viewed bystander video pressing his knee into Mr Floyd’s neck as the black man said he could not breathe, was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. He is to be sentenced on June 25th.
Mr Lane, Mr Kueng and Mr Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Their trial was separated from Chauvin’s to comply with Covid-19 courtroom spacing restrictions. – AP