Chauvin trial won’t include Floyd’s past scrapes with the law

Judge Peter Cahill has also ruled some of Chauvin’s past uses of force can be used as evidence

Ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin appears in on closed-circuit television.
In this courtroom sketch from June 29, 2020, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin appears in on closed-circuit television from a prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., during a hearing before Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill in Minneapolis. Prosecutor Matthew Frank, second from right, and defense attorney Eric Nelson, right, face the judge.
Cedric Hohnstadt via AP 2020

A ruling issued Tuesday by Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill is the latest indicator of what will be allowed as evidence in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who faces murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of George Floyd.

Cahill’s order blocks attempts by defense attorneys to include parts of Floyd’s past as evidence. They wanted to include body camera video of a May 6, 2019, arrest of Floyd. Attorneys allege Floyd swallowed “large quantities” of drugs in order to avoid arrest and  that during the encounter Floyd cried and acted “irrationally.”

Defense attorneys also wanted to include a 2007 robbery conviction Floyd received in Texas. That incident will also be excluded from the trial.

Cahill also denied attempts by prosecutors to include past conduct by two of the three other former officers who’ve been charged in Floyd’s killing and face trial in August.  Prosecutors sought to include nine prior incidents involving conduct by Tou Thao and one involving J. Alexander Kueng. 

Prosecutors were successful in getting two prior incidents in which Chauvin used force during trial. That includes a June 2017 arrest in which prosecutors say Chauvin knelt on the neck of a woman for longer than was necessary.

Chauvin will be tried on charges of murder and manslaughter starting in March.

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