The attorney for former Officer J. Kueng filed a motion Thursday arguing that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has "compromised his ethics" and ability "to impartially prosecute" the case. Cahill's order did not elaborate on the rationale for his ruling, nor on how or when the footage would be released. Initially only transcripts of the audio were released, but a judge later allowed journalists and members of the public to view the footage by appointment. Viewers also were barred from recording or distributing the footage.
A coalition of media organizations challenged the restrictions, citing the First Amendment. A British tabloid on Monday published parts of the videos. "Officer Thao did nothing to aid in the commission of a crime". The memo said Thao had his back to what was going on as Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee to the neck of Floyd, a handcuffed Black man. Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes on May 25 even after Floyd pleaded for air.
This combination of file photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, shows Derek Chauvin, from left, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. The video sparked a wave of global protests over police brutality and systemic racism that are ongoing. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Kueng and two other officers, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
The footage was recorded by Lane and Kueng, rookies whose attorneys have argued that they were deferring to Officer Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran, as they pressed on Floyd as he lay handcuffed stomach-down in the street complaining he couldn't breathe.