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Cops accused of Floyd violations will be tried

ST. PAUL (Minn.) -- Monday's federal trial of three Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights when Derek Chauvin pinned George to the pavement is set to begin. Opening statements are expected to be given after a fast-selected jury of 18 members was selected last week.

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Cops accused of Floyd violations will be tried

Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Kueng are all charged with Floyd's deprivation of civil rights when they act under government authority. They are all charged with failing to provide Floyd medical care. Thao and Kueng also face additional charges for failing to stop Chauvin from being convicted in state court of murder and manslaughter last year.

According to legal experts, prosecutors must prove that Kueng, Lane, and Thao willfully violate Floyd's constitutional rights. Defense attorneys, however, are likely to blame Chauvin. The videotaped murder of Floyd triggered protests worldwide and violence.

Floyd, 46, was killed by Chauvin after he pressed Floyd to the ground, with his knee on Floyd’s neck, for 9 1/2 minutes. Floyd was then face down, handcuffed, and gasping for air. Kueng placed his back on Floyd's and Lane held his legs down. Thao prevented bystanders from interfering.

Lawyers for the Floyd family claim that bystander video proves that three officers "directly contributed (Floyd)'s death and failed to intervene in the senseless murder."

On Thursday, 18 people were selected for the jury. Twelve will be deliberating and six will serve as alternates. Two jurors, one of whom is expected to deliberate and the other to alternate, are of Asian descent. All the rest are white. Jurors are drawn from the Twin Cities, suburbs, and southern Minnesota. The court refused to give demographic information.

It is rare for federal prosecutions to be brought against officers who are involved in the on-duty murders. The legal standard for proving that an officer has violated someone's constitutional rights is very high. Prosecutors must show that officers knew they were wrong but still did it.

Indictment names Thao, a Hmong American, Lane, who's white, and Kueng who's Black with willfully denying Floyd the right to be freed from an officer who was indifferent to Floyd's medical needs. According to the indictment, Floyd required medical attention and the men failed to help him.

Thao and Kueng were also charged with a second charge alleging that they willfully violated Floyd’s right to be free of unreasonable seizure. They failed to stop Chauvin while he knelt down on Floyd's neck. Although Lane isn't mentioned in this count, evidence suggests that he twice asked Floyd if he should roll on his side.

Both charges allege that Floyd was killed by the officers.

Magnuson, U.S. District Judge, told jurors that the trial could take up to four weeks. It is not clear whether any of the three officers will be testifying. It is not known if Chauvin will testify. However, experts who spoke with The Associated Press believe he will.

In June, Lane, Kueng, and Thao will also be facing a separate state court trial on separate charges that they assisted and abetted murder and manslaughter.

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