MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A Hennepin County judge has ordered the public release of body camera video from the arrest and death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a challenge by a media group, including FOX 9. In a decision Friday night, Judge Peter Cahill ordered copies of the footage from fired officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng to be released.
The order did not state when or how the video would be released.
Judeg Cahill had allowed journalists and the public to view the footage from the courthouse but didn't allow for the body camera video to be recorded or be copied by reporters. Instead, reporters were allowed to sign up for a one-hour appointment to view the video and were allowed to describe what they saw.
In July, a coalition of media members challenged the decision, leading to Friday's order. In a motion filed July 13, the media coalition wrote: "The Media Coalition respectfully requests that the Court, consistent with its obligations under the common law, its own rules of access, and the First Amendment immediately make the BWC footage available for copying by the press and public so that it may be widely viewed not just by those who have the time and wherewithal to visit the courthouse during a global pandemic but by all members of the public concerned about the administration of justice in one of the most important, and most-watched, cases this State—perhaps this country—has ever seen"
Portions of the video ended up getting leaked, appearing on British tabloid website The Daily Mail. After the leak, the Hennepin County District Court along with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said they would investigate the leak.
FOX 9 is working to obtain a copy of the footage.
FOX 9’s Paul Blume, who has viewed the body camera video, reports it is obvious from the start that Floyd was alarmed by having Lane’s gun in his face when the officers approached his driver’s side window. The video shows he is agitated and upset. The gun and its positioning sets the events in motion.
In the video, Floyd appears upset and scared. He seemed to have worked himself up and complains of breathing issues before going to the ground. The officers seem convinced from the start that he is under the influence of something. There is a moment where Floyd is handcuffed and sitting up against the wall where the situation seems in control. The officers then insist on getting him into the squad car. Again, Floyd becomes agitated.
Floyd tells the officers he is claustrophobic. He fights and will not stay in the back seat of the squad car. Eventually, the officers pin him to the ground.
The bodycam footage shows several minutes elapse between the time officers get off a lifeless George Floyd and get him into an ambulance before real life-saving efforts are started.
A transcript of both officers’ body camera videos was released to the public as part of the filing for a motion to dismiss the charges against Lane. The transcripts were among the eight documents submitted by Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, supporting the motion to dismiss.
Floyd died on May 25 while being detained by Minneapolis police. Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck in a bystander video, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.