Judge Peter Cahill has dismissed 16 prior incidents involving the Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death, admitting 2 as evidence to be used in trial. No explanation for the ruling was given at present.
According to a report in USA Today, Prosecutors attempted to admit evidence from prior incidents involving the former officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death, including 8 incidents intended to demonstrate that Derek Chauvin intentionally harmed Floyd in a way “inconsistent with training.”
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while the other three – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao – have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Under Minnesota law, evidence from prior incidents can be admitted to trial if they establish “intent, knowledge, lack of mistake or accident, modus operandi, or a common scheme or plan.”
The 8 incidents submitted for review that involved Chauvin were related to the use of force or restraint techniques that “went beyond what was necessary under the circumstances.”
The two admitted incidents included one dated back to August 2015 and another from June 2017. In the first, Chauvin and fellow officers fought with and tased a “mentally disturbed” man, putting him in a position “consistent with training.” Court filings stated that following the event, medical personnel informed the officers that the man could have died if medical attention had not been sought sooner, but that the officers had acted “appropriately.”
In the 2017 incident, it was determined that Chauvin had acted with excessive force when he knelt on a female’s neck to restrain her, doing so “beyond the point when such forced was needed under the circumstances,” according to court filings.
Prosecutors also tried but failed to admit evidence of 9 prior incidents involving former officer Thao, including of note the falsifying of a police report and the manipulation of a domestic abuse victim. Another incident involving former officer J. Alexander Keung regarding his use of force and restraint techniques was also denied.
Evidence submitted by the defence’s lawyers regarding Floyd’s past, including an aggravated battery conviction, was also denied, consistent with the court’s denial of the prosecution’s evidence.
Floyd was arrested on May 25, 2020, and died as a result of excessive force by Chauvin, who restrained him by kneeling on his neck for an extended period of time. All four officers involved were fired following the incident.