Officials in Minneapolis and elsewhere have scrambled to meet the demands of protesters, proposing to shift funds from police departments to other social programs, institute reforms such as banning chokeholds and hold officers accountable in court for unlawful uses of force. In Minneapolis, a majority of the City Council has vowed to dismantle the police department and reimagine how to manage public safety.
On Sunday, Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, announced what they described as the first in a series of police reforms: prohibiting officers involved in incidents from reviewing body camera footage before completing an initial report.
“Requiring officers who may become suspects to complete a police report before reviewing body cam footage will help ensure that investigators, attorneys and jurors receive a transparent account of how an officer remembers the incident — one that hasn’t been influenced by other evidence,” the officials said in a statement.
At the pretrial hearing scheduled for Monday afternoon at a jail and court complex in central Minneapolis, all four defendants in the Floyd case are expected to participate either in person or by video from jail. At the hearing, a variety of issues are likely to be discussed; they could include adjustments to bail, arguments over a gag order limiting trial participants from speaking to the media and a trial schedule. The defendants are not likely to enter pleas on Monday.
Derek Chauvin, 44, a 19-year-veteran whose knee pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground until his last breaths, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and is being held on at least $1 million bail. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting in the death. Two of them, both junior officers — Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — are out on bail. Another officer, Tou Thao, remains in custody, said his lawyer.
For now, the four former officers’ cases are being handled together. But they could ultimately be split up and tried separately. Already, lawyers for Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng have sought to shift the blame to Mr. Chauvin. At an earlier hearing, Mr. Plunkett pointed to Mr. Chauvin’s culpability, saying, “at multiple times, Mr. Kueng and Mr. Lane directed their attention to that 19-year veteran and said, ‘You shouldn’t do this.’” Mr. Thao had met with prosecutors before Mr. Chauvin’s arrest.
Taken together, the actions of the three officers indicate that the so-called blue wall of silence — officers sticking together to the same story, and not speaking out against one another — has already crumbled.