Judge grants delay in civil rights case over Floyd's death

Derek Chauvin is taken into custody
Derek Chauvin is taken into custody on Tuesday, April 20 as his attorney Eric Nelson, left, watches, after his bail was revoked after he was found guilty on all three counts in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.
Screengrab of Court TV

A magistrate judge has delayed until September the arraignment of four former Minneapolis police officers charged with federal civil rights violations in George Floyd’s death, ruling Friday that the case is complex and not subject to time restraints under the Speedy Trial Act.

Prosecutors had asked for more time to prepare for the case, due in part to the sheer volume of evidence. Defense attorneys did not oppose the delay.

A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao last month, alleging they violated Floyd’s rights while acting under government authority as Floyd was restrained face-down, handcuffed and not resisting. Chauvin is also charged in a separate indictment alleging he violated the rights of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Magistrate Judge Tony Leung said the four men would be arraigned Sept. 14, subject to any further orders from the court. A date for trial has not been set.

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Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court and is awaiting sentencing in that case. The other former officers also face state trial next March on aiding and abetting counts.

Floyd, 46, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe as Chauvin pinned him to the ground on May 25, 2020. Kueng and Lane helped restrain Floyd — Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held Floyd’s legs. Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint that was captured on bystander video and led to worldwide protests and calls for change in policing.

The federal indictment alleges Chauvin violated Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and from unreasonable force by a police officer. Thao and 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 charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care.

Chauvin is also scheduled to be arraigned on civil rights charges stemming from the 2017 case. That arraignment is set for Sept. 16, and a trial date has not been scheduled.