Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, will stand trial alone in early March, a judge ruled on Monday.J
Jury selection in Chauvin’s prosecution was set for March 8 with opening statements slated for no earlier than March 29, according to the ruling by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.
The three other officers accusing of playing a role in Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, will be tried together beginning in August, according to Cahill.
Prosecutors were surprised by the ruling, and Attorney General Keith Ellison said all four officers should face charges in the same trial.
“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision to sever three of the defendants from the other and its ruling on the timing of the trials,” Ellison said in a statement.
“As we argued several months ago, and as the judge agreed in his November ruling, we believe all four defendants should be tried jointly.”
Ellison said “the evidence against each defendant is similar” and holding more than one trial could “retraumatize eyewitnesses and family members.”
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, declined comment on Tuesday.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
The killing of Floyd, a Black man who died on May 25 while being pinned to the ground under Chauvin’s knee, sparked worldwide protests against systemic racism.
Melanie Kucera contributed.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com