All four ex-Minneapolis cops charged in the George Floyd case will be tried together, and the trial will be televised, Judge Peter Cahill ruled Thursday morning. Lawyers for Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao wanted separate trials as they believed each officer played a vastly different role in the Memorial Day death. In pre-trial motions, they essentially blamed each other for Floyd’s death. But Cahill ruled that a joint trial would “protect witnesses from reliving the trauma of Floyd’s death at multiple trials.” He said a single trial would be easier on the Floyd family, prevent evidence overlap, minimize the risk of prejudicing jurors, and be more convenient logistically for witnesses.
Rather than moving the trial to a neighboring area, it will take place in March in downtown Minneapolis, although Cahill said those details could change. The jury will be sequestered to ensure their safety, Cahill ruled. The judge decided to allow cameras in the courtroom largely because the coronavirus pandemic would prevent many people, including reporters, from being in the courtroom. Ben Crump, the civil-rights attorney representing the Floyd family, praised Cahill’s decision in a Thursday statement, noting that trying all these officers “together will give the jury a complete picture of what happened on the day George was murdered.” “The judge’s decision to keep the trial in Minneapolis is the right one. We never see Black defendants get a change in venue to increase the fairness of their trials, and the White officers involved in the death of George Floyd should rightly face a jury of their peers in the city where the tragedy took place,” Crump said.