ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — A pulmonologist spoke on Monday as the Federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating the rights of George Floyd resumed after being abruptly suspended last week because an accused tested positive for COVID-19.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are accused of depriving Floyd of his rights when they failed to provide him with medical aid Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the black man’s neck for 9½ minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, face down and out of breath. Kueng and Thao are also accused of not having intervened in the May 2020 massacre which has sparked worldwide protests and a re-examination of racism and policing.
Dr. David Systrom, a pulmonologist and intensive care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, is the second medical expert called to testify by prosecutors.
Last week, Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr Andrew Baker said Floyd died after police “supported, restrained and squeezed the neck” caused his heart and lungs to stop. He said heart disease and drug use were factors but not the “main” causes. He said Floyd had an enlarged heart that needed more oxygen than normal, as well as narrowed arteries.
The testimony began on January 24 after a jury was selected in one day.
The trial was halted midway through its second week on Wednesday after U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said one of the defendants had tested positive. The defendant was not named, but Kueng and Thao were in court that day and Lane was not. Lane’s attorney declined to say whether his client had COVID-19.
Floyd, 46, struggled with officers when they tried to force him into a police cruiser and after knocking him to the ground. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs, and Thao held back passers-by.
Kueng, who is black, Lane, who is white, and Thao, who is Hmong American, are accused of willfully depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights while acting under government authority. The charges allege that the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death.
Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court last year and pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge. He remains in jail. Lane, Kueng and Thao will also face a separate trial in June for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. All three were released on bail shortly after being charged in June 2020.
Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan.
Find full AP coverage of the murder of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd