Jury ends Day 1 of deliberations in case of 3 former Minneapolis officers; judge seals juror records
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UPDATE — 5:10 p.m.: Jurors have finished their first day of deliberations in the case of the three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s rights.
After Judge Paul Magnuson read jury instructions to them, jurors were handed the case just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. They didn’t ask the judge any questions before adjourning for the day at 5 p.m.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man pleaded for air before going silent. Kueng and Thao are also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin.
Jurors are scheduled to begin their second day of deliberations at 9 a.m. Thursday.
UPDATE — 3:30 p.m.: As jurors began deliberating Wednesday, the judge in the case of the three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights took a step to protect the jurors’ identity.
Judge Paul Magnuson signed an order sealing juror questionnaires and other juror records for at least 10 years.
“The significant public attention this trial has generated, combined with the Court’s assurances to prospective jurors that the information would not be released, mandate such sealing,” the document signed by Magnuson states.
Jurors are still able to speak publicly about the case after a verdict is returned if they desire.
Deliberations are set to continue until 5 p.m. The jurors haven’t yet asked the judge any questions.
UPDATE — 1:30 p.m.: The jury has begun deliberations in the case of the three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
While the jury was handed the case nearly four hours ago, deliberations likely haven’t been in progress for that long, as it took time to get the jurors all of the exhibits from the trial, plus they had to handle some procedural items, like selecting a foreperson. It’s also unclear if they took a lunch break.
The jurors haven’t asked the judge any questions thus far, as the courtroom has remained empty since 10 a.m. The only movement was when prosecutor LeeAnn Bell pushed a cart with exhibits out of the courtroom shortly after 11 a.m.
UPDATE: The fate of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights is now in the hands of the jury.
Court convened at 9:06 a.m. Wednesday and Judge Paul Magnuson read jury instructions. He explained each charge to the jurors and emphasized that they’re each separate from the others.
He also removed the two remaining alternate jurors but didn’t excuse them from duty yet. They were allowed to leave the courthouse but are on-call and would fill in if one of the jurors got sick during deliberations. In that event, deliberations would have to restart, court staff say.
At 9:53 a.m., Magnuson sent jurors out to begin deliberations.
After jurors left, Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, asked for a mistrial. Judge Magnuson noted that Plunkett asked for a mistrial and cited prosecutorial misconduct multiple times. He told Plunkett to formally submit his request in written form and will give prosecutors the chance to respond.
The judge and attorneys all left the courtroom at 10 a.m.
Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend, gave the following statement after the jury started deliberating Wednesday morning:
“It’s been a long month … my heart is with Floyd … the prosecution has led an excellent case … if I was a juror, they’d come back guilty … they never rendered aid to Floyd … it was clear to see.”
After closing arguments were made Tuesday in federal court, jurors will receive the case of three former Minneapolis officers who are charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
Both the prosecution and the defense made their closing arguments Tuesday, which lasted all day.
The jury will be read their instructions Wednesday morning, and then deliberations will begin.
Prosecutors say J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao “chose to do nothing” as a fellow officer, Derek Chauvin, squeezed the life out of Floyd. Defense attorneys countered that the officers were too inexperienced, weren’t trained properly and did not willfully violate Floyd’s rights.
The three are charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man pleaded for air before going silent. Kueng and Thao are also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin during the May 25, 2020, killing that was captured on bystander video and triggered protests worldwide and a reexamination of racism and policing.
Thao watched bystanders and traffic as the other officers held down Floyd. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs. All three officers testified.
Court is expected to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and once those eight women and four men of the jury begin deliberating, they will have to consider each ex-officers’ charges individually.
Legal experts say that complicates the case, and means it is possible they could come back with split verdicts.
Federal civil rights violations that result in death are punishable by up to life in prison or even death, but those sentences are extremely rare, and federal sentencing guidelines suggest the officers would get much less if convicted.
Lane, who is white, Kueng, who is Black, and Thao, who is Hmong American, also face a separate trial in June on state charges alleging that they aided and abetted murder and manslaughter.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS will continue to update this article throughout the day as closing arguments are made.Tweets by EricChalouxKSTP