A special prosecutor said in court on Friday that four former Minneapolis police officers "acted together" in causing the death of George Floyd in May, while defense lawyers strongly opposed the prosecution's bid for a joint trial.
The hearing before Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill focused on various motions in the criminal case arising from Floyd's death that led to protests in the United States and other countries against racism and police brutality.
It was the first time all four defendants - Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - appeared together since the May 25 death of Floyd, who was Black. Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for about nine minutes.
After the hearing, Floyd's relatives and lawyers pushed back against the assertion made by defense attorneys in court filings that Floyd, who had fentanyl in his system, died of an overdose, rather than cardiopulmonary arrest, the official cause of death.
"The only overdose that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force and racism by the Minneapolis Police Department," lawyer Ben Crump said outside the courthouse. "It is a blatant attempt to kill George Floyd a second time."
BEN CRUMP: You know, we just sat through a very emotional hearing where people tried to kill George Floyd a second time. They made all kind of foolish allegations--
- Yes! They were foolish.
BEN CRUMP: --talking about he died from a drug overdose.
- No! We know better.
BEN CRUMP: Exactly. They're trying to claim his-- the knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds had nothing to do with his death. They are trying to say that the knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds was reasonable.
[BOOING AND SHOUTING]
They're trying to claim some asinine theory about a overdose.
I want to be clear about this. The only overdose that killed George Floyd with an overdose of excessive force and racism by the Minnesota-- Minneapolis Police Department.