Prosecutors of the case against the four police officers involved in the death of George Floyd are seeking a three-month delay of the trial due to COVID-19.
The trial for officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao is currently set for Mar. 8 in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Prosecutors argued in their motion that the start should be delayed to Jun. 8 to balance the “need to protect public health with the need to ensure that this case is resolved expeditiously,” the Star Tribune reports.
Minneapolis prosecutors in George Floyd trial seek delay, citing coronavirus https://t.co/tiMBmVv6w1
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The four defendants are set to be tried together. Chauvin is being charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder, while the other three officers are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter, according to the Star Tribune. (RELATED: New Body Cam Footage Reveals Important Details In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting)
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, previously requested a delay of the trial over an alleged mishandling of evidence-sharing by the prosecution, according to the Star Tribune. The prosecution’s motion for delay reportedly included an affidavit from Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who serves on President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board.
“Millions of Americans in the general population [are likely to] receive a COVID-19 vaccination between March 2021 and June 2021,” Emanuel said. The prosecution said the trial could cause a high risk of coronavirus spread, saying the “high-profile nature of this case — as well as the larger-than-usual number of trial participants — could mean that many people will congregate in and around the Hennepin County Government Center during trial.”
Floyd was killed on May 25 after being forcibly detained in Minneapolis by the four officers, who were subsequently fired. Widespread national protests, some of which were violent, erupted in the aftermath of the incident.