Judge says venue could change in George Floyd death trial if public remarks persist

Floyd's death has captured national attention and sparked protests and calls for police reform.

Last Updated:
June 30, 2020 - 8:50am

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Hennepin County, Minnesota Judge Peter Cahill on Monday said that if public officials, lawyers and family members persist in making public remarks about the George Floyd case he could shift the trial to a new setting.

While he did not use a gag order against lawyers, he said he might do so if public remarks continue that make it more difficult to assemble an unbiased jury. Cahill warned that continued remarks would make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion, the Associated Press reported.

"The court is not going to be happy about hearing comments on these three areas: merits, evidence and guilt or innocence,” Cahill said, according to the outlet.

The judge scheduled the trial date for March 8 in the event that the four men are tried together, but he anticipates that motions will be filed to divide the trials, the outlet reported. 

Floyd's death last month sparked national outrage that resulted in both peaceful protests as well as a spate of lawlessness that included looting, arson and property damage. It also spurred a national focus on racial issues and calls for police reform.

Floyd, a black man, could be heard in a video saying that he could not breathe while officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, held his knee on Floyd's neck.

Chauvin faces charges including unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to the Associated Press, while the three other men face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

None of the four men have entered pleas.

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