MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- One relative of George Floyd and one relative of Derek Chauvin will be allowed in the courtroom for the much-anticipated trial of the former Minneapolis police officer, which is slated to start next week.
According to court documents outlining the management of the trial, Judge Peter Cahill decided that one member of each family will be allowed to view the trial in person on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Different family members may rotate through these positions, but only if they have the appropriate credentials. The family members will not be allowed to use phones or any other electronic devices in court or anywhere on the 18th floor of the building.
As spectators, they will sit in assigned seats and must wear masks, keep six feet from other people, and comply with any other COVID-19 restrictions in place. Spectators will not be allowed to wear clothing with logos or images, and may not communicate with the court, jurors or potential jurors.
Ben Crump, the attorney representing the Floyd family, says that they were disappointed by the judge's decision. They had hoped more relatives would be allowed in the courtroom.
"This has been a deeply painful and emotional year for every member of the Floyd family, many of whom intended to be in the courtroom to witness this trial, which is now expected to begin on March 29. While they understand the judge's reasons to limit attendance in the courtroom, the family is understandably disappointed by this ruling. The family is looking forward to the start of the trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives," Crump said.
Chauvin's trial is scheduled to start Monday with jury selection. There's a chance, however, the trial could be delayed if a decision this week from the Minnesota Court of Appeals on reinstating a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin is appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Chauvin is currently facing charges of second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter. Three other former Minneapolis officers are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. They are scheduled to stand trial in August.
Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25, 2020 after being arrested outside a south Minneapolis convenience store. Bystander video of the fatal arrest showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes as he cried out, saying he couldn't breathe.
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