MINNEAPOLIS - Three former Minneapolis police officers are next to go to trial in the death of George Floyd after a jury found former officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are charged with aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The trio will stand trial in court together beginning on Aug. 23 in Hennepin County.
Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of killing Floyd, 46, on May 25, 2020, at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue after he was seen on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report ruled the death of Floyd a homicide.
Thao, Lane and Kueng responded to the call for a suspected "forgery in process" but did not directly cut off Floyd’s breathing. The officers are accused of failing to stop Chauvin from killing Floyd. Thao later admitted he should have been "more observant" during the incident while fending off the crowd.
The jury comprised of six White members and six Black or multiracial members came back with its verdict for Chauvin Tuesday after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. The centerpiece of the case was the excruciating bystander video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, "I can’t breathe" and onlookers yelling at Chauvin to stop.
Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, a knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argued that his client acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of an underlying heart condition and his illegal drug use. Floyd had high blood pressure, an enlarged heart and narrowed arteries, and fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system. The defense also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.
Police-procedure experts and law enforcement veterans inside and outside the Minneapolis department, including the chief, testified for the prosecution that Chauvin used excessive force and went against his training.
Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. Chauvin told a bystander: "We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy... and it looks like he’s probably on something."
Defense attorneys for all four former officers had filed motions earlier this year to move the trial out of Hennepin County, arguing the jury pool has been tainted by media coverage of Floyd’s killing.
FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.