State, cops seek to bar evidence in trial over Floyd killing

Oct 4, 2022, 10:32 PM | Updated: Oct 5, 2022, 10:38 am
FILE - This combo of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, show Tou...

FILE - This combo of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, show Tou Thao, left, and J. Alexander Kueng. Prosecutors and defense attorneys for the two former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence at trial — with many requests relying heavily on what happened at the previous two trials in Floyd’s death. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

              In this image from video, witness Donald Williams wipes his eyes as he answers questions, March 30, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Prosecutors and defense attorneys for two former Minneapolis police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, charged in the killing of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence that will be allowed at trial. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
            
              In this image from video, Dr. Martin Tobin testifies, April 8, 2021, in trial at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Prosecutors and defense attorneys for two former Minneapolis police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, charged in the killing of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence that will be allowed at trial. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
            
              FILE - This combo of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, show Tou Thao, left, and J. Alexander Kueng. Prosecutors and defense attorneys for the two former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence at trial — with many requests relying heavily on what happened at the previous two trials in Floyd’s death. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors and defense attorneys for two former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence at trial — with many requests relying heavily on what happened at the previous two trials in Floyd’s death.

J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. With jury selection to begin Oct. 24, both sides are using what they learned in the prior trials to try to shape the proceeding in their favor. Hearings on the motions are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Defense attorney Mike Brandt, who isn’t connected to the case, said it’s typical pretrial maneuvering for the two sides to guess what the other will introduce and try to gain an advantage. Kueng and Thao “have a better crystal ball,” he said.

Kueng, Thao and Thomas Lane were working with Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, when Chauvin, who is white, used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the pavement for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man said he couldn’t breathe and eventually grew still. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.

Floyd’s killing was captured in bystander video and sparked worldwide protests as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.

Many of the requests stem from what’s already happened in court. Tom Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, wants the judge to bar the state’s witnesses from addressing jurors directly and from asking them to take actions as part of a demonstration, such as asking them to examine their own necks.

That comes after one expert in Chauvin’s trial, lung and critical care specialist Dr. Martin Tobin, at one point loosened his tie, placed his hands on his own neck and encouraged jurors to do the same as he explained how he believed Floyd died. Jurors said later that Tobin provided some of the trial’s most compelling evidence.

Tobin also narrated video of Floyd being held to the pavement and pinpointed what he said was the moment Floyd died. And paramedic Derek Smith testified that after checking for a pulse and not finding one: “In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead.” Bob Paule, an attorney for Thao, wants witnesses barred from referring to Floyd as dead until the time at which he was officially pronounced dead at a hospital. And Plunkett is asking that all non-physician testimony be limited to treatments and observations, not to Floyd’s cause of death or characterization about whether he was dead or alive.

The state, meanwhile, wants to bar the defense from introducing evidence about the men’s characters and families. That request comes after the federal trial, in which the defendants or their family members talked about their backgrounds, their volunteerism, and how they overcame hardship – all evidence the state called irrelevant.

The state also seeks to bar evidence about whether Chauvin was qualified to be a field training officer – after questions about that were raised during the federal trial as part of a defense strategy to blame the officers’ training for their actions that day.

The defense wants witnesses barred from testifying in uniform unless they are testifying as part of their job. That comes after Genevieve Hansen, a firefighter who was off duty when she came upon Floyd’s arrest, testified in uniform at Chauvin’s trial. Paule said Hansen will be testifying as a bystander, and that having a person testify under oath while in uniform might lead a jury to improperly find them more trustworthy.

The defense also wants an order barring witnesses from wearing signage, after another state witness, Donald Williams, wore a T-shirt under his dress shirt that said “Black Excellence,” according to the defense, and was visible to at least one juror. Paule also wants prosecutors to be barred from questioning Williams about his martial arts training and his understanding of a “blood choke” and how it affects breathing, saying Williams has no medical training.

The defense wants to bar the state from questions that elicit emotional responses, as prosecutors did during Chauvin’s trial, and they want to bar prosecutors from calling juvenile bystanders as witnesses, including a girl who was 9 at the time.

The defense says calling the child would further traumatize her, provoke emotions from the jury, and that her testimony has repeated what other bystanders said. The state has countered that the testimony of multiple bystanders is necessary, and that the varied people on the street – an older man, teenagers and a young girl – show it was not the dangerous crowd the defense tried to portray in Chauvin’s trial.

They also said the fact that a 9-year-old girl knew Floyd was in distress demonstrates just how unreasonable the officers’ use of force was.

Kueng, Thao and Lane were convicted in federal court earlier this year of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care. Thao and Kueng were convicted of a second count for failing to intervene and stop Chauvin.

In July, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Kueng to three years in prison and Thao to 3½ years on the federal counts. They reported to federal custody on Tuesday: Thao, who is Hmong American, is being held in Lexington, Kentucky, and Kueng, who is Black, is in Lisbon, Ohio.

Lane, who is white, avoided a state trial by pleading guilty in May to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to three years on the state conviction, and 2 1/2 years on the federal conviction. He is serving both sentences concurrently at a low-security federal prison camp in Littleton, Colorado.

Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter and was given a 22 1/2-year state sentence in 2021. He also pleaded guilty to a federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years on the federal charge. He is serving the sentences at the same time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the killing of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Landslide leaves up to a dozen missing on Italian island

MILAN (AP) — Heavy rainfall triggered landslides early Saturday on the southern Italian island of Ischia that collapsed buildings and left as many as 12 people missing. Italy’s interior minister said no deaths had yet been confirmed, appearing to contradict an early announcement by another senior politician. “At the moment there are no confirmed deaths,” […]
1 day ago
Nancy Faeser, Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs talks to members of the press in Em...
Associated Press

German government seeks to ease rules for naturalization

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s socially liberal government is moving ahead with plans to ease the rules for obtaining citizenship in the European Union’s most populous country, a drive that is being assailed by the conservative opposition. Chancellor OIaf Scholz said in a video message Saturday that Germany has long since become “the country of hope” […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Ze...
Associated Press

Ukraine works to restore water, power after Russian strikes

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities endeavored Saturday to restore electricity and water services after recent pummeling by Russian military strikes that vastly damaged infrastructure, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying millions have seen their power restored since blackouts swept the war-battered country days earlier. Skirmishes continued in the east and residents from the southern city […]
1 day ago
FILE - Palestinian soccer fans wave Qatari and Palestinian flags as they watch a live broadcast of ...
Associated Press

Flashes of Arab unity at World Cup after years of discontent

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — For a brief moment after Saudi Arabia’s Salem Aldawsari fired a ball from just inside the penalty box into the back of the net to seal a World Cup win against Argentina, Arabs across the divided Middle East found something to celebrate. Such Arab unity is hard to come by and […]
1 day ago
FILE - MGM Grand Macau casino resort is closed in Macao on July 11, 2022. Macao has tentatively ren...
Associated Press

Macao awards casino licenses to MGM, Sands, Wynn, 3 others

BEIJING (AP) — Macao has tentatively renewed the casino licenses of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and three Chinese rivals after they promised to help diversify its economy by investing in non-gambling attractions, the government said Saturday. The announcement is positive news for owners who have invested billions of dollars to build the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Local authorities inaugurate the Christmas lighting in the streets of Vigo, Spain, Nov. 19, ...
Associated Press

Sober or bright? Europe faces holidays during energy crunch

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Early season merrymakers sipping mulled wine and shopping for holiday decorations packed the Verona Christmas market for its inaugural weekend. But beyond the wooden market stalls, the Italian city still has not decked out its granite-clad pedestrian streets with twinkling holiday lights as officials debate how bright to make the season […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
State, cops seek to bar evidence in trial over Floyd killing