George Floyd trial comes to a halt as defendant tests positive for COVID

The ongoing federal civil rights trial of the three former Minneapolis police officers involved in the George Floyd incident has been abruptly halted.

According to Fox News, Judge Paul Magnuson paused the trial after it was discovered that one of the defendants tested positive for the coronavirus. 

What we know

Magnuson put the trial on hold on Wednesday explaining that one of the three defendants tested positive. But, Magnuson did not reveal who the COVID-positive individual is.

The three defendants are J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao. According to reporters who were present on Wednesday, Kueng and Thao were both in the courtroom while Lane was not.

This would suggest that Lane was the one who tested positive, but this has yet to be confirmed. Lane’s attorney, when asked, refused to confirm or to deny that it was his client who caught the illness.

On top of this, the news release released by the court, announcing Magnuson’s decision to put the case on hold, only identifies the COVID-positive individual as a “case participant.”

Background

Kueng, Lane, and Thao are facing federal civil rights charges. They are accused of depriving Floyd of his rights by failing to provide him with medical attention during the incident that led to Floyd’s death in 2020. They also stand accused of failing to intervene in the events that led to that death.

The court began hearing testimony in the trial last week, after the selection of the jury. That testimony, so far, has only come from the government’s witnesses.

Magnuson has put in place several policies to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak from occurring during the trial.

Magnuson, for example, has placed a limit on the number of people who can be present in the courtroom as a means to ensure that there is social distancing. He also has required that everyone present wear masks, except for himself, citing a chronic long condition, and testifying witnesses. And, those entering the courtroom are asked whether they have any coronavirus symptoms.

What now?

The trial is expected to resume on Monday.

The defendant who tested positive will be retested before being allowed back into the courtroom.

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