National News Desk

Ex-cops charged in George Floyd death want federal trials separated from Chauvin

George Floyd Officers Civil Rights
FILE – This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, shows from left, former Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Three of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights are asking that their federal trials be separated from Chauvin’s, who has already been convicted on state murder charges for kneeling on Floyd’s neck as the Black man pleaded for air. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP File)

A federal grand jury indicted the four former Minneapolis police officers in May, alleging they violated George Floyd’s civil rights.

The three former officers are asking that their federal trials be separated from the trial of Derek Chauvin, who has already been convicted on state murder charges for kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for air.

Attorneys for J.Kueng and Tou Thao said in a court filings Tuesday that their clients would be unfairly prejudiced if they went alongside Chauvin. An attorney for Thomas Lane filed a motion asking to join his co-defendant’s request.

The four officers were also charged in state court, where Chauvin’s trial was eventually separated from the others due to space restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other three former officers face state trial next March on aiding and abetting charges.

Floyd, 46, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe as Chauvin pinned him to the ground on May 25, 2020.
Kueng and Lane helped restrain Floyd; Kueng knelt on his back, and Lane held Floyd’s legs.

The requests to separate the trials were filed with several other routine requests on Tuesday.

Chauvin is also charged in a separate federal indictment alleging he violated the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

The officers are scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 14.

A trial date has not been set.

The charges were the latest sign the Department of Justice under new Democratic President Joe Biden is taking a harder line against police abuses.