Prosecutors in the case against four Minneapolis cops charged in the death of George Floyd want to delay the trial until June due to the coronavirus.
The trial, scheduled for March 8, should be pushed back to June 7 because of “the need to protect public health,” prosecutors said in a motion filed in Hennepin County Court, the Star Tribune reported Friday.
Delaying the trial, the prosecutors said, “would substantially reduce the risk to trial participants from COVID-19 and thereby reduce the risk that this trial is delayed or disrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak among the trial participants.”
The four ex-cops — Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao — are charged Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis, a case that sparked global protests and calls for racial justice.
Chauvin is accused of pinning Floyd down with his knee while he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
All four officers were fired after video of the fatal encounter went viral.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and the other three with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, requested a delay in the trial earlier this month, citing issues over the handling of evidence by prosecutors.
Nelson told the Star Tribune that he will not object to the prosecutors’ new motion.
However, Kueng’s lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, said he found it puzzling.
“The time of their motion seems curious to me,” Plunkett said. “The pandemic has been around for a while.”
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill has yet to rule on the request.