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Trial of ex-police officer accused of killing George Floyd begins

Trial of ex-police officer accused of killing George Floyd begins

dpa
Washington
Almost one year after the death of George Floyd, the trial of one of the former police officers involved in his brutal arrest kicked off in the United States on Monday.
Derek Chauvin, the main defendant, a white man, faces charges including second-degree murder, punishable with up to 40 years in prison in the state of Minnesota.
The court in Minneapolis began on Monday with motions on the conduct of the trial. The scheduled start of the time-consuming selection of the 12 jurors and four alternates was initially postponed until Tuesday by Judge Peter Cahill.
Cahill rejected prosecutor Matthew Frank’s request to delay the start of the trial to await a decision by a higher court. “We are not trying to delay this case, we want to try this case but we want to try it right and we only have the ability to try it once,” Frank said.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, opposed the delay. At issue in the dispute was the admission of an additional count.
Judge Cahill had originally rejected the prosecution’s request to also charge Chauvin with third-degree murder, which carries a 25-year sentence, but an appeals court had said on Friday that the judge should allow the charge.
That decision is not final, however; it could still end up before the Minnesota state supreme court. Prosecutor Frank therefore argued that the case should wait for the final court decision. Judge Cahill said jury selection could still begin.
The main hearing is to start on March 29.
The death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, last year triggered mass protests against police violence and racism in the US. Many people demonstrated in other countries as well.
The 46-year-old Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after being arrested under suspicion of paying with a fake 20-dollar bill. Police officers pushed him to the ground on the street and Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while Floyd begged to be able to breathe, according to footage of the arrest.
Floyd lost consciousness and instantly died, according to the autopsy.
Chauvin, an officer who was expelled from the police force and later released on bail, also faces second-degree manslaughter charges, punishable with an additional 10 years in prison.
Three other former police officers involved in the operation are facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
A separate trial has been set for them, to start on August 23.

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