Opening statements began in the federal civil rights trial of three former Minnesota officers charged as accomplices in the May, 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd along with already convicted cop Derek Chauvin.
On Monday morning, federal prosecutors argued that officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane could have saved George Floyd’s life from being killed by Chauvin–but that instead they became abettors in his murder.
“For second after second, minute after minute, these three CPR-trained defendants stood or knelt next to Officer Chauvin as he slowly killed George Floyd right in front of them,” Samantha Trepel, a prosecutor who works for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, told the jury. “They chose not to protect George Floyd, the man they had handcuffed and placed in their custody.”
Trepel also said: “We will ask you to hold these men accountable for choosing to do nothing and watch a man die.”
But Thomas Plunkett, an attorney Kueng, made the claim that Chauvin is the one to bare all the blame because he “considerable sway.”
“You’ll see and hear officer Chauvin call all of the shots,” said Plunkett.
Last week, 18 jurors were chosen for the jury. Experts say this case could last four weeks.