FLOYD VIDEOS SOUGHT; U.S. RE­JECTS CHI­NESE CLAIMS IN SEA

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD - BY AMY FORLITI

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — A coali­tion of news me­dia out­lets is seek­ing pub­lic ac­cess to body cam­era video recorded by for­mer of­fi­cers charged in the death of Ge­orge Floyd, while at­tor­neys for the of­fi­cers are ask­ing that a gag or­der in the case be lifted, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments filed Mon­day.

At­tor­neys for the coali­tion of me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing The As­so­ci­ated Press, are ask­ing Judge Peter Cahill to im­me­di­ately make the body cam­era videos of Thomas Lane and J. Kueng avail­able for copy­ing. Those videos were filed with the court last week by Lane’s at­tor­ney, but only tran­scripts of the au­dio have been made pub­lic.

Court staff told news me­dia that the footage would be made avail­able at an un­spec­i­fied date for view­ing only and that it could not be copied or recorded. Me­dia at­tor­ney Leita Walker ob­jected to the in-person, byap­point­ment view­ing only, say­ing it vi­o­lates the com­mon law, rules of pub­lic ac­cess to records and the First Amend­ment.

Walker said news me­dia out­lets want the footage im­me­di­ately avail­able for copy­ing “so that it may be widely viewed not just by those who have the time and where­withal to visit the court­house dur­ing a global pan­demic but by all mem­bers of the pub­lic con­cerned about the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in one of the most im­por­tant, and most-watched, cases this state — per­haps this coun­try — has ever seen.”

Floyd, a Black man who was hand­cuffed, died May 25 af­ter Derek Chau­vin, a white po­lice of­fi­cer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine min­utes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Chau­vin is charged with sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, third-de­gree mur­der and man­slaugh­ter. Tou Thao, Lane and Kueng are charged with aid­ing and abet­ting both sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and man­slaugh­ter. All four of­fi­cers were fired.

The body-cam­era videos and tran­scripts were filed last week by Lane’s at­tor­ney, Earl Gray, as part of a mo­tion to have Lane’s case dis­missed. Gray said at the time that he wanted the videos to be made pub­lic— prompt­ing Cahill to is­sue a gag or­der the next day that barred at­tor­neys and par­ties from dis­cussing the case. In a court fil­ing Mon­day, Gray said he wants the gag or­der lifted, ar­gu­ing his com­ments didn’t war­rant the re­stric­tive or­der.

At­tor­neys for Chau­vin, Thao and Kueng also said in fil­ings that the gag or­der should be lifted. Chau­vin’s at­tor­ney, Eric Nel­son, said that in the last sev­eral weeks Chau­vin has been called a mur­derer and some pub­lic of­fi­cials have re­ferred to the case as a “mur­der.”

Nel­son ar­gued that af­ter more than six weeks of one side of the story, pros­e­cu­tors are the only ones who have ben­e­fited from pre­trial pub­lic­ity.

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