George Floyd case: Judge rules media, public can view officers’ body camera footage

George Floyd case: Judge rules media, public can view body camera footage

A Minnesota judge ruled that copies of body camera video excerpts from two former Minneapolis police will be allowed to be viewed by media outlets and the public.

Judge Peter Cahill’s ruling Friday night came after a challenge by a coalition of local and national media companies, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported. The excerpts are from the body cameras of former officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, which were filed in court documents on July 7, KSTP reported. Media outlets were challenging a court order prohibited the public from viewing the May 25 videos, the television station reported.

Cahill originally allowed the footage to be viewed only by appointment on July 15 in the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported. However, the judge did not allow the video to be recorded or distributed, a decision the media coalition argued violated state laws governing public records, court rules and the First Amendment, the newspaper reported.

Content Continues Below

“The Media Coalition requests that the Court … immediately make the (body-worn camera) footage available for copying by the press and public so that it may be widely viewed not just by those who have the time and wherewithal to visit the courthouse during a global pandemic but by all members of the public concerned about the administration of justice in one of the most important, and most-watched cases, this State -- perhaps this country -- has ever seen,” attorneys Leita Walker and Emmy Parsons wrote in a motion that they argued in court on July 21.

Lane and Kueng recorded the footage. Their attorneys claim the two rookies were deferring to Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department. Lane was holding onto Floyd’s feet and Kueng held his back while Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, the Star Tribune.

On Monday, the Daily Mail leaked portions of the footage, WCCO reported.

The death of Floyd, 46, ignited protests worldwide.

A Minneapolis judge ruled that body cam footage from police can be viewed by the public and media outlets. Arrested in the death of George Floyd, from left, are Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.
A Minneapolis judge ruled that body cam footage from police can be viewed by the public and media outlets. Arrested in the death of George Floyd, from left, are Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/AP)