Judge in George Floyd Case Orders Release of Body-Cam Video

Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, right, walks out of the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility on June 20, 2020, with his attorney, Earl Gray. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) — Body-camera footage of George Floyd’s apprehension, arrest and death was made public Monday after the judge overseeing criminal cases against four former police officers ordered it to be released late Friday.

The video, taken from the worn cameras of former Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, shows approximately 40 minutes from shortly before the officers’ arrival at a corner store in Minneapolis’ South Side to shortly after Floyd’s departure from the scene in an ambulance.

The footage follows Lane and Kueng as they apprehend Floyd and two acquaintances. Lane holds Floyd at gunpoint and handcuffs him, and the officers briefly question the visibly panicked man before attempting to get him into their patrol SUV. After a few minutes struggling to get Floyd into the back seat, senior officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao arrive and help wrestle him to the ground.

Chauvin then places his knee on Floyd’s neck, where it stays for over nine minutes. Lane and Kueng hold down Floyd’s back and knees as Thao keeps increasingly agitated bystanders at bay. Chauvin gets up after paramedics arrive and load Floyd into an ambulance. Lane accompanies them and administers CPR as they take Floyd to an out-of-the-way street corner, while Kueng goes back into Cup Foods to ask more questions about Floyd’s alleged use of counterfeit bills.

The footage has been available for in-person viewing since mid-July to those able to schedule appointments at the Hennepin County Courthouse, but media outlets and attorneys for the four officers charged in connection with Floyd’s death have advocated for a broader release of the videos since they were filed as an exhibit alongside a motion to dismiss the case against Lane earlier that month.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, at hearings in the cases of Lane, Kueng, Thao and Chauvin, expressed concerns that making the videos public could taint the jury pool for the cases. A leak of portions of the footage by the British tabloid The Daily Mail bolstered the media’s arguments, and Cahill ordered that the footage be released late Friday.

Publicity has been an ongoing concern in the cases since their first hearing, when Cahill instructed the parties not to talk with the press or the public about the facts of the case and told prosecutors to ask others, including Floyd’s family, to do the same.

Cahill enacted a gag order after Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he was considering a motion to dismiss. He revoked it after protests from the press and defense attorneys and a motion by Lane’s attorney to hold Attorney General Keith Ellison in contempt for announcing the addition of four new attorneys to the case, which Cahill did not grant.

Over all that back-and-forth hangs the possibility of a change of venue, which Cahill has mentioned at various points during the proceedings.

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