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All four former officers charged with George Floyd’s death plead not guilty in federal court hearing

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MINNESOTA (KTTC) -- In April Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd. In June he was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. The other three former officers involved in the incident face trials in March 2022 on aiding and abetting counts. Federal arraignment proceedings for Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao started today.

They are charged with violating George Floyd's civil rights while acting under a government authority.

The federal indictment alleges Derek Chauvin violated George Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer.

Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure by not intervening to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd's neck,

All four officers are also charged with depriving Floyd of his rights when they failed to provide him with medical care.

It's now undetermined if all four will be tried together.

"By pleading not guilty to the indictments, they've now put the burden on the state to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," Criminal Law Attorney James McGeeney said.

The attorneys for Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng argued they were new, and only on the job for a couple of shifts. All attorneys argued that it would be prejudice to be tried alongside Chauvin with most of the jury aware of the fact he was already convicted under state court.

"He's already been found guilty by a jury of his peers, of murder, and so I can understand why they may not want to have their cases tried jointly with his," James McGeeney said.

The judge added that in most federal court cases, the trial is joined, but this will be ruled on at a later time.

"What they're asking the federal court, the federal district court to do is sever the trials so that they don't have a joint trial at least together with Mr. Chauvin. Maybe they don't even want to have joint trials amongst themselves," said James McGeeney.

Although Chauvin has already been convicted of murdering George Floyd, that was in a state trial. He still faces federal charges.

The next scheduled date is for the briefing on October 26th.

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Carli Petrus

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