Judge boots Hennepin County Attorney from George Floyd case: Calls their actions ‘sloppy.’

MINNEAPOLIS, MN– On Friday September 11th, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his first in-person court appearance at a hearing for the death of George Floyd. 

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers that were present during the arrest have also been charged. 

No cameras were allowed at the hearing, however WCCO-TV anchor and journalist Esme Murphy was in the courtroom, and took to Twitter to provide various pieces of information on what was taking place. 

Murphy tweeted that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said at the start of the hearing that the defendants’ dismissal requests would not be considered on day one, but went on to say that the legal teams should not “read anything into that,” suggesting dismissal of charges are still possible.

The tweet read:

“Judge in George Floyd case says he will not consider probable cause motions today which means he won’t be deciding motions to dismiss these cases but the Judge also said ‘don’t read anything into that,’”  

It is no surprise that the officers do not want their trials to take place in Minneapolis, as there is bound to be a bias.

Because of this, the defense has requested a change of venue for the trial, however the judge said that there needs to at least be an attempt to assemble a jury before a venue change is considered.

Murphy then reported that: 
 
Defense attorney Paule says ‘I have never had a case [where] the prosecution announces on TV my client is guilty’ – we have a jury that has been told ‘my client is guilty’ as he argues for change of venue #GeorgeFloyd,”
 
Judge Cahill reportedly replied: 
 
“There is not a county or state in this country that has not had publicity in the George Floyd case,” 
 
Defense Attorney Paule fired back with:
 
“We have had cities ablaze because of these cases’ saying jurors in [Minneapolis] will feel pressure to find former officers guilty. Judge is arguing that there should be an attempt to first find a jury in Hennepin County before considering a change of venue [George Floyd] case.”

Murphy also reported that Judge Cahill:

“says he has gotten barrage of calls from the public, most urging him not to dismiss the case,

“seems to be on the side of keeping jury anonymous.”

The defense is pushing for an anonymous jury, using the incident that occurred at union leader Lt. Bob Kroll’s home, and a lead prosecutor having to leave his house over threats.

Murphy tweeted:

“Derek Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson says in first week of case he received more than 1000 unsolicited emails most of them threatening,”

Reporter Paul Blume was also present in the courtroom and tweeted:

Current issue being debated w/ some intensity is matter of an ‘anonymous jury,

“Judge & defense attys sharing stories [about] how often they’ve been threatened & the amount of public scrutiny they’ve [received]. There is real worry abt safety of a potential jury.”

Blume continued:

“Judge reiterated there will be NO DECISION today on dismissing any charges in case. Change of venue motion got lots of time this [morning]. Sounds like Cahill wants to wait on that one, perhaps all way up to trial itself. He indicated he wants to screen a potential local jury pool 1st.”

Another main event in the hearing was the request by defense attorneys to remove Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman

Murphy tweeted:

“Nelson arguing Freeman is potentially a witness because he met with Dr. who performed autopsy on [George Floyd].”

Judge Cahill complied:

 “Judge just disqualified members of the Hennepin County Attorney’s office, including Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman from the case – they could be witnesses – calls their actions ‘sloppy.’”

Chauvin’s defense attorneys then brought up Floyd’s criminal past, which did not please the judge, as he raised his voice, questioning the “relevance” to the case, according to Murphy.

Murphy then reported:

“Defense Attorney Plunkett also wants records of a May 2019 incident in which Plunkett alleges [George Floyd] took drugs during an encounter with police, Defense of all 4 former officers claims Floyd swallowed fentanyl during the fatal encounter,” 

Judge Cahill said:

he will not admit any criminal records involving [George Floyd] when Floyd lived in Texas.”

Judge Cahill also reportedly said a pill was visible’ in George Floyd’s mouth that can been seen on the body camera footage of Thomas Lane.

Although prosecutors say there “is not much there”, the judge ordered Chauvin’s past “incident” to be disclosed to other attorneys.

Before adjourning the hearing, Judge Cahill reportedly said:

prosecutors ‘have made a show of particular cruelty’ in [George Floyd] death – that would be an ‘aggravating factor’ that could allow for a longer sentence if former officers are convicted.”

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It is not surprising to hear that threats have been made to many in this case. From the start, the concern for Chauvin’s well being was made clear, as he was only allowed to be guarded by white correction officers while in prison. 

ST. PAUL, MN – When Derek Chauvin was charged with Murder in the case of George Floyd, he was sent to Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul Minnesota.

It appears for at least the first month of his incarceration at the jail, only white corrections staff were allowed on the floor where Chauvin was being held.

This information has come to light after eight officers filed a complaint with The Minnesota Department of Human Rights accusing the superintendent of the Ramsey County Jail from keeping the eight CO’s from bringing Chauvin to his cell, or even being on the same floor as he was.

The eight officers filing the complaint, who are all people of color, said the order came down from Superintendent Steve Lydon, who is white.

The officers also contend that the move was a form of segregation and implied that he didn’t believe the officers could do their jobs because they are not white.

The Star Tribune reported, As Chauvin arrived, that all officers of color were ordered to a separate floor, and a supervisor told one of them that, because of their race, they would be a potential “liability” around Chauvin, according a copy of racial discrimination charges.

Lydon eventually said he was attempting to reduce the amount of trauma endured by his black corrections officers due to the alleged racism of the Chauvin/Floyd case.

One black acting sergeant wrote:

“I understood that the decision to segregate us had been made because we could not be trusted to carry out our work responsibilities professionally around the high-profile inmate — solely because of the color of our skin.

“I am not aware of a similar situation where white officers were segregated from an inmate.”

Bonnie Smith, a Minneapolis attorney representing the eight employees, said the order left a lasting impact on morale:

“I think they deserve to have employment decisions made based on performance and behavior. Their main goal is to make sure this never happens again.”

Roy Magnuson, a spokesperson for the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul Minnesota, initially denied the claims that the officers had been kept from Chauvin because of their race.

This weekend, however, they acknowledged the move and said that Lydon had been temporarily removed from the superintendent position while the allegations are investigated.

Magnuson also provided a statement that Lydon allegedly gave to investigators.

In the statement Lydon said he did segregate employees to prevent what he called “heightened ongoing trauma” from having people of color interact with Chauvin.

The statement said, in part:

“Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made a decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings.”

Lydon also said he had only done so for about 45 minutes and then, realizing he made a mistake, reversing the decision and offering an apology.  The CO’s dispute that claim and say it lasted longer, effecting one shift two days later.

Smith, the attorney, said:

“If he [Lydon] is really trying to protect my clients from racial trauma, he shouldn’t be segregating them on the basis of skin color. He isn’t preventing racial trauma — he is creating it.”

Chauvin has since been transferred to Oak Park Heights maximum-security prison.

Law Enforcement Today recently reported on another one of the officers involved in the George Floyd case, J. Alexander Keung, getting harassed at a grocery store.

Here’s that story again in case you missed it.

Friday night June 19th, 2020 J. Alexander Keung, one of the four Ex-Minneapolis Police Officers charged in the death of George Floyd was freed on $750,000.

It didn’t take long for the attacks to begin.

Keung went to Cub Foods in Plymouth; a suburb of Minneapolis and one nosy shopper recognized him and began yelling at the ex-cop. The NY Post reported the story after a video of the encounter went viral.

The video which was posted by a “Josiah” – @jk3rd on Twitter has over 3.7 million views and is captioned:

“Look who my sister caught at Cub Foods in Plymouth. J. Alexander Keung, one of the officers who lynched #GeorgeFloyd in cold blood.”

The video shows J. Alexander Keung with another male and the two can be seen walking through the store until a woman recording the two approaches Keung asking him his name.

Keung humbly says:

“Yeah that’s me.”

The woman begins raising her voice and harassing Keung who remains surprisingly calm throughout the ordeal.

She asks Keung:

“So you’re out of prison and comfortably shopping in Cub Foods as if you didn’t do anything?”

Keung responds to the woman:

“I wouldn’t call it comfortably, I’d just say getting necessities…”

The attack continues.

“I don’t think you should have that right. I don’t even think you should be out on bail,” she said.

He remains calm.

“I can understand that,” replied Keung. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Keung is one of 4 Minneapolis Police Officers that were attempting to place George Floyd under arrest back on May 25th for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill.

Derek Chauvin was kneeling on the neck of Floyd killing him. All 4 men have been fired and charged in the death of Floyd. The death of George Floyd has sparked racial tensions nationally as well as vilified the police, even though the law enforcement community has condemned the death of Floyd, specifically the tactics used by Chauvin to restrain him.

The persistent videographer continues to make a scene telling Keung:

“You don’t have the right to be here,” she said. “You killed somebody in cold blood.”

She then asks Keung if he feels any remorse and Keung pleads with the woman that he just wants to finish his shopping and be on his way.

“We don’t want you to get your stuff,” she said. “We want you to be locked up.”

She went on to vow that Keung’s life on the outside would be made miserable wherever he tries to go, adding that he was “lucky” that his home address is not public knowledge.

“You’re not gonna be able to comfortably live in Minnesota, or anywhere,” she said. “And you will be going back to jail.”

Keung again was very tolerant and kept his cool despite the woman’s attempts to goad him into reacting. It may have been naïve of the ex-rookie cop to believe he could appear in public without facing public outrage.

The same outrage and emotion that law enforcement around the country have been subject to since Floyds death.

The death of Floyd has called for police reform and many states have already begun drafting legislation. Keung and the other 2 ex-officers have come under fire for not intervening while Derek Chauvin was kneeling on the neck of Floyd.

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Author: K. Winters


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