George Floyd's Civil Rights Centered In Federal Trial Opening Arguments

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Opening arguments in the federal trial for the three former Minneapolis police officers who participated in the murder of George Floyd began Monday (January 24).

Prosecutors focused on Floyd's civil rights, accusing Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Kueng of making the "conscious" decision to not protect the 46-year-old on May 25, 2020.

"In your custody, in your care," Assistant US Attorney Samantha Trepel told the court, while reading from the Minneapolis Police Department policy on how officers should treat people who are taken into custody. Trepel continued, adding that protecting civil rights of a person is "not just a moral responsibility, it's what the law requires under the US Constitution."

Trepel also highlighted that all three of the former cops were trained in how to resuscitate someone, but didn't even attempt to provide help to Floyd as he begged for his life under Derek Chauvin's knee for more than nine minutes.

"Here on May 25, 2020, for second after second, minute after minute, these three CPR-trained defendants stood or knelt next to Officer Chauvin as he slowly killed George Floyd right in front of them," Trepel said.

Defense attorneys for the ex-officers argued in their opening statements that it was Chauvin who "called all the shots" during the fatal arrest.

Trepel's opening arguments pushed back on that, stating that the officers made the "conscious choice over and over again" to not protect Floyd who was already in handcuffs and pinned to the ground. Additionally, Chauvin already pleaded guilty to the federal civil rights violation charges and is currently serving a 22 and half year prison sentence.

The trial is set to last between two to four weeks at the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After this trial, the three officers still face state aiding and abetting a murder and manslaughter charges.

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