Four former Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges they violated the civil rights of George Floyd, a black man, when he was arrested on a city street on May 25, 2020, the day He was killed, was confronted.
The former police officers – Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane – were produced before a US magistrate judge via videoconference in Minneapolis. Chauvin, who is serving a 22-year sentence for the murder of Floyd, appears from a room in a Minnesota maximum security prison.
Following Floyd’s death on civil rights charges, he was detained by police on suspicion that he tried to pass a $20 counterfeit bill at a nearby convenience store.
Viewers captured cellphone video of Chauvin stopping Floyd, who gasped and said he couldn’t breathe. The other three officers assisted in the arrest or helped Floyd to stop the onlookers from interfering.
Chauvin was convicted of manslaughter and manslaughter earlier this year, while the other three former officers face trial next March on charges of aiding and abetting.
US Magistrate Judge Tony Leung is ruling several legal questions in the civil rights case, including requests by Thao, Kueng and Lane to separate their trials from those of Chauvin, a motion opposed by prosecutors.
Floyd’s death followed across the US and around the world, with street protesters calling for police reforms and an end to police abuse of minorities in the weeks that followed.