Three former Minneapolis officers headed to a federal trial on civil rights charges this week in the death of George Floyd aren’t as familiar to most people as Derek Chauvin, a fellow officer who was convicted of murder last spring. Thomas Lane and J. Kueng were the first officers to respond to a report that Floyd had tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, and they helped Chauvin restrain Floyd. Lane and Kueng were rookies just a few days into their jobs as full-fledged officers. Tou Thao was the second-most senior officer on the scene after Chauvin. He held back a group of bystanders shouting at the officers to get off Floyd.
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A hearing on a motion seeking to dismiss former Chicago-area police sergeant Drew Peterson's 2012 conviction for killing his third wife has been delayed. The Will County Circuit Court Clerk's office says the hearing originally scheduled for this Friday will be held Feb. 7. Peterson says attorney Joel Brodsky provided ineffective counsel and alleges prosecutorial misconduct and witness intimidation by Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow. Brodsky says he's been vindicated by previous court rulings and Glasgow's office denies Peterson's allegations. Peterson was convicted of murder in the 2004 death of Kathleen Savio. He's a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, but not been charged.
A high-profile killing at New York City’s busiest subway station has injected fresh unease into the perception of whether the subway system is safe. Mayor Eric Adams made a point of taking the subway to City Hall on his first day to work on Jan. 1. He had announced plans to boost the presence of police officers in the subway and reach out to homeless people in stations and trains. He said it's part of a mission to combat “actual crime” and “the perception of crime.” But the former police captain admitted Tuesday that even he didn’t feel entirely safe on the subway.
South Dakota lawmakers weighing impeachment charges for the state’s attorney general are drilling into the investigation of his fatal car crash in 2020. They spent hours questioning the law enforcement officers and a specialist who analyzed the crash involving Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Nearly all of the House investigative committee’s work has so far happened behind closed doors so far. But the committee of seven Republicans and two Democrats met in public Tuesday to question the law enforcement officers who investigated Ravnsborg after he struck and killed a man walking along a rural stretch of highway in September of 2020.
A coalition of media groups says restrictions on access to the federal civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death amount to an unconstitutional closing of the courtroom. Citing the risks of the pandemic, Judge Paul Magnuson has restricted the number of people who may be in his courtroom for the proceedings against Tou Thao, J. Kueng and Thomas Lane. They're charged with depriving Floyd of his rights while acting under government authority. Jury selection begins Thursday. Magnuson has also restricted how much can be seen on a closed-circuit feed of the proceedings, which will be relayed to overflow rooms where only a limited number of journalists and members of the public can watch.
Three police officers have been charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment after firing their weapons in the direction of a crowd of people exiting a high school football game outside of Philadelphia, injuring three people and killing an 8-year-old girl. A grand jury recommended the charges against the three Sharon Hill Police officers, Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney, in the August 27 shooting that killed Fanta Bility. Murder charges previously filed against two Black teenagers for firing gunshots that prompted the officers to shoot were also dropped Tuesday, according to a news release from the Delaware County District Attorney’s office.
A man accused of killing three people and wounding three others in an April shooting at a bar in Wisconsin has been found guilty on all charges. The verdict came less than two hours after the prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments Tuesday in the trial of Rakayo Vinson. The 25-year-old Vinson was charged in the deaths of 24-year-old Cedric Gaston; 26-year-old Atkeem Stevenson; and 22-year-old Kevin Donaldson, all of Kenosha. Vinson was convicted of three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Each count carries a mandatory life prison sentence. Authorities said surveillance video shows Vinson walking to the patio of the bar and opening fire before fleeing.
A Kansas prosecutor says he won't file charges over the death of a Black 17-year-old who became unresponsive while being restrained after an altercation with staff at a Wichita juvenile center in September. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett made the announcement in a Tuesday news conference. Cedric Lofton died at a hospital two days after the altercation at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center. A December autopsy report contradicted an earlier, preliminary finding that the teenager hadn’t suffered life-threatening injuries. The autopsy ruled the death a homicide. Bennett says he state’s “stand your ground” law prevents him from bringing any charges.
Lawyers for a man convicted of murder for fatally shooting his wife as they rode in an SUV in Atlanta are asking Georgia’s highest court to overturn his conviction. Seventy-nine-year-old Claud “Tex” McIver is serving a life sentence after being convicted of felony murder in the September 2016 shooting of his wife. Prosecutors said he was driven to kill her because he coveted his wife’s money. Defense attorneys said her death was a terrible accident. In their appeal, McIver’s attorneys have argued that the judge made multiple mistakes during the trial, and the conviction should be reversed. The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Wednesday.
California prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driver of a Tesla on Autopilot who ran a red light, slammed into another car and killed two people in 2019. The defendant appears to be the first person to be charged with a felony in the United States for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system. Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the charges in October, but they came to light only last week. The misuse of Autopilot, which can control steering, speed and braking, has occurred on numerous occasions and is the subject of investigations by two federal agencies.