The first of four former police officers accused of George Floyd’s death has declared his intention to plead guilty.
Court documents filed by J Alexander Kueng’s attorney – and viewed by the Daily Mail – state that he intends to use the defenses of self-defense, justifiable force and authorized use of force.
A few hours after a Minneapolis judge warned Monday that he could move proceedings against ex-cops to another location and issue a gag order in a case that attracted worldwide attention, according to local media reports.
During brief hearings for each of the four former Minneapolis police officers, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill told their attorneys and prosecutors that he fears that prior publicity may prevent the possibility of a fair trial, reportedly by a local NBC affiliate.
“They are probably pushing this process to a different place if they (public officials) continue to do it,” Cahill told chief prosecutor Matthew Frank.
“They must be aware of it.”
Frank replied that lawyers have no control over public officials, KARE 11 reported.
One of the former officers, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, locked his knee in Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25, when he and the other three former cops were arresting Floyd in a neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Floyd was later pronounced dead in a hospital.
The incident, captured by the bystander video, sparked massive protests against racial injustice and called for police reforms.
Chauvin, who attended Monday’s hearing via a video link, is charged with second-degree murder.
The other three officers, Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane, appeared in person and were accused of helping and supporting the case.
At the next hearing on September 11, Cahill may decide whether the four officers will be tried together or separately.
The first trial date was set for March 8, 2021.
Cahill is also considering whether cameras will be allowed in the classroom.
The bail for Chauvin had previously been set at $ 1.25 million or $ 1 million under certain conditions, while for the other three it was set at $ 750,000 – $ 1 million each.
Chauvin and Thao, 34, remain in custody, while Kueng, 26 and Lane, 37, have been released on parole.