Judge denies request to broadcast proceedings in George Floyd murder trial

Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao. J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. The four former Minneapolis police officers are charged in the death of George Floyd. (FOX 9)

Attorneys representing the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd filed a motion asking the court to approve video coverage of pre-trial proceedings.

Friday afternoon, Judge Peter Cahill signed an order denying that request.

“Given that this is a case that has already received substantial pretrial media coverage, the Court finds that audio or video coverage of the pretrial hearings in this case would not only violate Gen. R. Prac. 4.02(d)(v), but would risk tainting a potential Hennepin County jury pool," Cahill wrote. "In addition, not all parties consent, as required by the rule.”

A decision on video coverage of trial proceedings will be made at a later date.

Minnesota courts have notoriously blocked media coverage of proceedings, allowing cameras in the courtroom typically only at sentencings when all parties consent or a judge rules in favor of it.

The defense had argued video coverage of the proceedings are necessary to ensure a fair trial for Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

“Unethical leaks of information and many prejudicial comments from the Governor, Attorney General, Hennepin County Attorney, Mayor of City of Minneapolis, Commissioner of Public Safety and now the Minneapolis Chief of Police, video and audio coverage is necessary to promote the possibility of a fair trial. The Sixth Amendment grants criminal defendants the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. Under the impartial jury requirement, jurors must be unbiased. Failure to allow real time video coverage of these proceedings will deprive the Defendants of a fair and open trial, a right assured under the Minnesota and United States’ Constitutions.”

The motion specifically cites recent comments from Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who wrote in a statement that George Floyd's death was a murder.

“Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training—the training was there,” Arradondo wrote. “Chauvin knew what he was doing. I agree with Attorney General Ellison: what happened to Mr. Floyd was murder. 

“Specifically, this relief is necessary to blunt the effects of the increasing and repeated media attacks from the various officials who have breached their duty to the community," the motion states. "These State comments have crescendoed to an extraordinary volume this week with the Chief pronouncing that “[w]hat happened to Mr. Floyd was murder.

The motion continues: “The State’s conduct has made a fair and unbiased trial extremely unlikely and the Defendants seek video and audio coverage to let a cleansing light shine on these proceedings. Doing otherwise allows these public officials to geld the Constitution.”

The defense also cites COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on courtroom capacity as a reason for video coverage, to allow the right to a public trial.

“Given that the world finds itself in the midst of a pandemic and added restrictions are being placed on attendance of these proceedings a de facto deprivation of the Defendant’s rights occurs. Allowing video and audio coverage will prevent this deprivation of a right assured by the United States and Minnesota Constitutions.”

One month since the death of George Floyd

One month ago, at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis, 46-year-old George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.

That fateful encounter on Memorial Day ignited a movement to recognize and address racism in Minneapolis and similar reckonings followed in communities all over the world. 

What followed Floyd's death was a chaotic, historic and emotional month that included devastating riots in the city of Minneapolis, the first ever full deployment of the Minnesota National Guard, a star-studded Minneapolis funeral for Floyd, worldwide protests and officials questioning the future of policing in American cities.

Here is a timeline of events between May 25 and June 25, 2020:

May 25

Officers respond to a report of forgery in progress at 3759 Chicago Avenue South around 8:30 p.m. Memorial Day night. When they arrive, officers encounter Floyd, identified as a suspect, in his car. Police said they ordered Floyd out of the vehicle and that he physically resisted officers. Floyd was handcuffed. Bystander video shows the moments that followed, in which Floyd is pinned down by officers, with one officer keeping his knee on Floyd's neck until he loses consciousness. The ambulance arrives minutes later. 

May 26

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announces all four responding officers have been fired as video of Floyd’s deadly arrest goes viral. 

May 27

The names of all four Minneapolis Police officers involved in the arrest that lead to the death of George Floyd are released. They are Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. 

Beginning as protests into the death of George Floyd, the demonstrations devolved into widespread riots, looting and intentionally set fires that night. An Autozone location, a Cub Foods and a nearby under-construction apartment building burned in the melee. 

May 28

Rioters took to the streets of Minneapolis through the night Thursday, including setting Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct on fire as thousands looked on. The riots damaged more than 170 businesses throughout the Twin Cities. 

May 29

Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody after being seen in the video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” 

Curfews were implemented in both Minneapolis and St. Paul in an effort to quell unrest in the streets. That night, protesters move outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fifth Precinct. The nearby post office and a Wells Fargo are set on fire and other nearby businesses are damaged.

May 30

Gov. Tim Walz announced a full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard in response to the rioting Thursday and Friday night. It was the first time in state history the full National Guard was activated.

May 31

A peaceful protest began at U.S. Bank Stadium, but it moved onto I-35W in Minneapolis later in the afternoon. While thousands of demonstrators were on the I-35W bridge, a semi truck drove into the crowd in the northbound lanes. The incident was later determined to be unintentional. 

Later that day, Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will be put in charge of prosecuting the George Floyd case.

June 3

Four former Minneapolis Police officers were taken into custody after being charged for their roles in the death of George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter. J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

June 4

George Floyd’s memorial service is held at North Central University in Minneapolis. It was a star-studded event capped off by an 8 minute, 46-second moment of silence. 

June 6

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide. The updated report stated that George Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).

Protesters begin calls for community-led safety, rather than the Minneapolis Police Department.

June 7

A 9-member majority of the Minneapolis City Council announced support for disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department. Mayor Jacob Frey opposed the decision, opting to stand with the Police Department and institute reforms instead. 

June 9

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released photos and videos of people of interest in the destruction of Minneapolis during the riots after Floyd’s death.

June 10

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced he is withdrawing from contract negotiations on the unfinished contract with the police union and restarting an effort to identify troubled police officers through early warning signs. 

June 12

All 12 members of the Minneapolis City Council co-authored and introduced a resolution “declaring the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety” in the city. The resolution is the first official step from the council regarding the Police Department.

June 15

A new 911 call transcript shows a 911 dispatcher called a Minneapolis Police sergeant over her concern of the way officers were handling the deadly arrest of George Floyd Memorial Day night

June 19

Minnesota lawmakers failed to pass police accountability bills in the wake of George Floyd's death during a special session.

Gov. Walz called it an embarrassment.

June 23

MPD Chief Arradondo said George Floyd’s death was “murder” and did not happen due to “a lack of training.”

June 24

Since the killing of George Floyd, the Minneapolis police union was noticeably quiet amid mounting criticism. Nearly a month after Floyd’s death, union leaders broke their silence, saying the union has become a “scapegoat.”