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Three officers in George Floyd trial End of defense

ST. Paul, Minn. – The defense cases in the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd concluded Monday with a common theme: that they are not guilty because of their training. make them trust the senior officer. At the scene, Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes until he died.

Three former officers – Tou Thao, 36 years old; J. Alexander Kueng, 28 years old; and Thomas Lane, 38 – accused of violating Mr. Floyd’s constitutional rights by not intervening against Mr Chauvin and failing to provide medical care to Mr. Floyd. All three testified in their own defense.

With testimony completed on Monday, the jury will hear final arguments from the prosecution and individual defense attorneys on Tuesday, and then begin deliberations.

During his murder trial last year, Mr Chauvin called on paramedics, police, a witness and a former medical examiner to testify on his behalf, but he did not take a stand. He was convicted in state court of murder and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.

The three other officers who were on the scene that day have been by far largely peripheral figures in the longstanding national trauma caused by the 2020 killing of Mr. Floyd, relying almost entirely on telling the story. themselves to defend themselves in court.

One after another, starting last week, three former officers stood before witnesses in federal court in St. Paul, Minn., and explained what they were doing and thinking when they answered a call from a convenience store employee who said Floyd used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

The first two officers on the scene – Mr Kueng and Mr Lane, both in their first weeks as full-time officers – struggled to arrest Mr Floyd, who repeatedly said that Mr. he’s suffocating and doesn’t want to be taken. in the back of a police car.

Officers testified that they were concerned that Mr. Floyd was showing symptoms of a drug overdose and was in a highly agitated state. They said keeping him trying to keep his face down, despite his repeated claims that he couldn’t breathe, was necessary, in part, to protect Mr. Floyd from injury. The scene was much more chaotic and possibly more dangerous for officers, than the footage the evidence suggests, they said.

But most of all, they said, they were confident that Mr. Chauvin, the senior officer present, had everything under control.

“I think I would count on a 19-year veteran to figure that out,” Thao testified.

The officers’ testimony, released at the end of a month-long trial, represents a rare example of a civil rights case pursued by the Justice Department against officers for failing to intervene against them. an officer is using excessive force.

Such cases are rare, in part because it is difficult to prove “intentional intent,” which implies some form of will, or at least knowing that what the police witness is contrary to law. law. In order for the jury to find the three officers guilty, it must be determined that from that moment the officers knew that Mr. Chauvin had used excessive force, and that Mr. Floyd was suffering from a serious health crisis.

And so the officers, in their testimony, were on the right track when they tried to blame Mr Chauvin – saying, in fact, that they trusted Mr Chauvin’s actions because of his experience – without admitting that they knew Mr. Chauvin was acting illegally.

“He is my senior officer, and I trust his advice,” Mr. Kueng said.

Officers have a duty to intervene against other officers who are committing crimes. However, experts say that obligation is often overlooked because the culture of pacification promotes loyalty and discourages officers from speaking out against one of them.

Mr. Thao and Mr. Kueng were charged with two counts – for failing to intervene against Mr Chauvin and failing to provide medical attention to Mr. Floyd. Mr. Lane, who twice asked Mr Chauvin during the episode whether they should flip Mr. Floyd on his side, was charged once for failing to provide medical aid.

From the outset, the trial focused on how police culture grants loyalty to other officers above all else – the so-called green wall of silence. Prosecutors sought to portray the defendants as ignoring their constitutional duties out of respect for a senior officer.

But the defense side has tried to capture the cultural issue of policing to its own advantage, arguing that the Minneapolis Police Department’s training process is rife with paramilitary aspects, with recruits being Teaching how to march in formation and obeying your superiors is considered the guiding principle. .

Mr. Kueng testified that the instruction on the intervention mission was brief and perfunctory.

The three officers still face trial in state court on charges of abetting and abetting the killings scheduled to take place in June.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/us/george-floyd-murder-trial-defense.html Three officers in George Floyd trial End of defense

Fry Electronics Team

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