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Trial of Officers in Killing of George Floyd Put Off After an Infection

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights was postponed on Wednesday after one of the former officers tested positive for the coronavirus, court officials said.

Judge Paul Magnuson, who is hearing the case, did not say which of the three defendants — J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane — had tested positive, but speculation centered on Mr. Lane, who was the only one of the three who was not present in court Wednesday morning.

Mr. Lane’s lawyer, Earl Gray, did not respond to a request for comment. Shortly before the judge announced the delay, however, Mr. Gray had approached a reporter and said, “Wait until you hear this,” as he walked out of the courtroom.

Judge Magnuson said the trial, which began last week, would pause at least until Monday.

The three former officers face both federal and state charges in connection with the killing of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street corner in May 2020. Their state trial is scheduled for later this year.

A fourth former officer, Derek Chauvin, was tried separately in state court on murder charges and was convicted in April 2021; he pleaded guilty to the federal charges against him in the case in December.

At the United States courthouse in St. Paul, where the three former officers are now being tried, lawyers, defendants and the public are required to wear masks at most times in the courtroom, though attendees are not required to be vaccinated.

All three defendants are charged with failing to provide medical aid to Mr. Floyd during the encounter, when the officers were trying to arrest Mr. Floyd on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Mr. Kueng and Mr. Thao are also charged with failing to intervene to stop Mr. Chauvin from using excessive force as he knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, causing Mr. Floyd to lose consciousness and die. The killing touched off mass protests across the country over police violence and systemic racism.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have risen sharply in recent weeks in Ramsey County, which includes St. Paul. About three-quarters of the county’s residents who are older than 5 have been fully vaccinated.

Circassia News

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