ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As the federal trial for three former Minneapolis officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights is ready to start Monday, some wonder if Derek Chauvin – the officer already convicted of Floyd’s homicide – will take the stand. Many authorized specialists say they don’t anticipate that. If he does testify, he might face some arduous questions.


Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng are broadly charged in federal court docket with depriving Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority as Chauvin used his knee to pin the Black man to the road for 9½ minutes on Could 25, 2020.

Kueng and Lane helped restrain the 46-year-old Floyd. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s again, and Lane held Floyd’s legs. Thao stored bystanders from intervening within the videotaped killing that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a reexamination of racism and policing.

The federal indictment alleges that Kueng, Lane and Thao willfully disadvantaged Floyd of the correct to be free from an officer’s deliberate indifference to his medical wants. Thao and Kueng are also charged with willfully violating Floyd’s proper to be free from unreasonable seizure by not intervening.

Months after his conviction in state court docket, Chauvin pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation.

Throughout his federal plea listening to, he admitted he knew what he did to Floyd was incorrect and he had a “callous and wanton disregard” for Floyd’s life. The plea settlement additionally says Chauvin “was conscious that Mr. Floyd not solely stopped resisting, but additionally stopped speaking, stopped shifting, stopped respiration, and misplaced consciousness and a pulse.”

Chauvin didn’t testify in his state trial.

Authorized specialists who spoke to The Related Press say it’s potential, however in all probability not: The prosecutors don’t want his testimony as a result of they’ve highly effective video proof, and protection attorneys possible don’t need Chauvin in court docket.

“My guess is that neither celebration will name him,” stated F. Clayton Tyler, a Minneapolis protection legal professional not related to the case. He stated prosecutors could name Chauvin if their case goes poorly, however “you possibly can think about how the opposite attorneys are going to have the ability to leap on him. It might get ugly if he will get on the stand.”

Tyler stated the protection gained’t name Chauvin as a witness until they know he’s going to testify of their favor. “They’re going to level the finger at him anyway, with out him being there,” Tyler stated, noting that Chauvin was the senior officer on the scene and that Lane and Kueng had been rookies just some days into their jobs as full-fledged officers.


Federal defendants typically conform to testify or supply “substantial help” to prosecutors in hopes of getting a decreased sentence. Nothing in Chauvin’s plea deal or different public paperwork signifies an settlement like this was reached.

Chauvin’s legal professional, Eric Nelson, declined to remark. Prosecutors should not commenting past the court docket filings.


Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor and professor on the College of St. Thomas Faculty of Legislation, stated Chauvin’s plea settlement was truly crafted in a option to restrict his usefulness to Kueng, Lane and Thao.

Chauvin’s settlement says he knew that officers — no matter their rank — are educated to intervene if one other officer is utilizing inappropriate drive, and that Chauvin didn’t threaten or drive any of the three officers to ignore that obligation.

The settlement additionally says that Chauvin didn’t observe Thao or Kueng do or say something to attempt to get Chauvin to cease. It says Chauvin heard Lane ask twice whether or not Floyd needs to be rolled on his facet, however that Chauvin “didn’t hear or observe Officer Lane press the purpose, and didn’t hear or observe Officer Lane say or do anything to attempt to get Officer Kueng and the defendant off of Mr. Floyd.”

Osler stated these particulars are uncommon and “fairly intentional.”

“There have to be some concern that he would fall on his sword and say, `It was all on me, not these different guys,’” Osler stated.

Mike Brandt, one other protection legal professional who’s watching the case, stated the language within the plea settlement doesn’t preclude Chauvin from coming to court docket and taking the autumn. However, he stated, it does take a few of the steam out of protection arguments that Chauvin was the chief and the rookies had been doing what he stated.

“We’ll type of have to attend and see,” he stated.


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