Prosecution rests in 3 cops’ trial in George Floyd killing
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Federal prosecutors have rested their case against three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights. The prosecution rested Monday after nearly three weeks of testimony from bystanders, doctors, police officers and others.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are accused of depriving Floyd of medical care while the Black man was handcuffed, facedown as Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck.
Kueng and Thao are also accused of failing to intervene to stop the May 25, 2020, killing that triggered protests worldwide.
Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the widely seen video of Floyd’s killing testified on Monday. After she sat down, she gave her name and age. She then began crying and said, “I can’t do it. I’m sorry.” The judge quickly took a break before Frazier’s testimony resumed.
On Monday morning, prosecutors called University of Virginia Police Chief Timothy Longo. He previously testified in the Mohamed Noor trial.
Longo reviewed videos, Minneapolis Police Department policies, training materials and other items to evaluate the conduct of J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. He called the actions of Lane, Kueng and Thao on May 25, 2020, “contrary or inconsistent with generally accepted policing practices.” He added that it’s “an absolute duty” to care for someone in police custody.
He said the officers leaving Floyd in the prone position while handcuffed was contrary to general policing practices and told the jurors, “it was clear to me any reasonable officer would know there is a responsibility to stop what was taking place in front of them.”
Thao’s attorney played a clip of Al Pacino’s speech in “Any Given Sunday” that was in a Minneapolis police training class and argued that it taught officers an “us vs. them” approach. Longo called it “disturbing” that the video was in a police training class.
According to KSTP reporter Callan Gray, Tou Thao’s attorney Robert Paule began questioning Longo following the lunch break. Paule started by delving into Longo’s background, followed by questions about his involvement in this case. Paule asks, "You were involved in this case shortly after this incident occurred?" to which Longo replied, "Within days…"
The defense focused on Longo’s involvement in the case, noting he talked with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office within days of Floyd’s death and even provided questions for authorities to ask the officers.
Longo testified that he felt Floyd posed no threat while he was handcuffed and on the ground, although the defense said a person in handcuffs can bite or kick, which he agreed with.
Lane’s attorney also had a heated exchange with Longo, asking if he expected the three officers to throw Chauvin off Floyd. Longo responded, “I think someone should have done something, yes,” and noted that nobody asked Chauvin to take his knee off Floyd’s neck.
Darnella Frazier, who captured the viral video of Floyd’s death, was the prosecution’s final witness. She immediately became emotional after being called and needed a break to be able to compose herself and testify Monday afternoon.
In her testimony, which lasted around 20 minutes, Frazier explained Floyd’s condition when she first arrived at the scene up until he was loaded into the ambulance, saying, “over time he just became weaker and eventually stopped making sounds.”
Only Lane’s attorney briefly questioned her, with Frazier confirming she saw the ambulance arrive but saying she doesn’t remember seeing it leave the scene. Frazier also said she believed Floyd needed medical attention “the moment he went unresponsive.”
The jury was excused a bit early Monday after the prosecution rested its case but Judge Paul Magnuson reminded them they’ve only heard the prosecution’s case thus far, not the defense’s. The defense will start presenting its case Tuesday morning.
As the jury is dismissed, Judge Magnuson reminds them that they have not heard the defense attorneys present their cases.
Judge Magnuson asked each defendant if they will testify. Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng say they plan to testify. Attorney Earl Gray says he wants to discuss it further with Thomas Lane before he gives his answer.
The officers are accused of depriving Floyd of medical care while the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown as Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes.