Three of the four officers charged in the death of George Floyd filed separate motions to dismiss the criminal cases against them after prosecutors allegedly leaked information about a failed plea deal to the New York Times.
Attorneys for Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, all of whom were jailed for purportedly aiding and abetting Derek Chauvin, who authorities said knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, petitioned the court beginning on Tuesday. The New York Times on Friday published a report that said former Attorney General William Barr rejected a plea deal from Chauvin, who has been charged with murder, after his lawyers agreed to a 10-year incarceration term.
Barr reportedly believed the deal was too lenient, the New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials close to the matter.
Chauvin was arrested four days after Floyd’s death amid a nationwide outcry when footage of the incident surfaced online. The three other officers, some of whom were being trained by Chauvin at the time, were arrested shortly later. Lane was said to have held Floyd’s legs, Kueng allegedly held down his back, and Thao appeared on video warding off unruly bystanders.
All four of the officers from the Minneapolis Police Department have since been released from jail. Chauvin, the most recent of the group to leave confinement, posted an over $1 million bail in early October 2020. Thao, Kueng, and Lane met $750,000 bonds each.
Floyd’s death led to amplified calls to hold police officers accountable, including moves to reduce law enforcement funding. His death was followed by racial justice protests and riots that have been estimated to have caused upward of $1 billion in damage.
The New York Times declined to comment.