All eyes are on Minneapolis, once again:
As soldiers prepared to take to the streets, the officer, Derek Chauvin, believed that the case against him was so devastating that he agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder. As part of the deal, officials now say, he was willing to go to prison for more than 10 years. Local officials, scrambling to end the community’s swelling anger, scheduled a news conference to announce the deal.
But at the last minute, according to new details laid out by three law enforcement officials, the deal fell apart after William P. Barr, the attorney general at the time, rejected the arrangement.
The article claims that Barr nixed the plea deal because he thought it was too lenient, and would stir up public unrest. But after watching him in action supporting Trump for so long, I find that hard to believe. I think (it's possible) he wanted to force it to trial with harsher charges so the jury would fail to convict this cop. Whatever the case, a guilty verdict is not a foregone conclusion:
The trial may yet be delayed. The prosecution has asked an appeals court to put off the proceedings, citing the risk that the trial, with so many demonstrators likely to fill the streets, becomes a superspreader event during the coronavirus pandemic.
The state is also appealing a decision by Judge Peter A. Cahill to separate the trial of Mr. Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — the initial charge of third-degree murder was dropped — from the trial of three other former officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death, two of whom were rookies with just a few days on the job.
Legal experts, and lawyers involved in the case, say that Judge Cahill’s decision to hold separate trials could benefit Mr. Chauvin — whose lawyer had pushed for a separate trial — because he will no longer have to face the possibility of the other three men pointing the blame at him.
In fact, that has already been playing out behind the scenes: Defense attorneys for those former officers have shifted from crafting strategies built on establishing the culpability of Mr. Chauvin to offering their help to his defense. If Mr. Chauvin were acquitted — a possibility that many officials fear could lead to more upheaval and second-guessing about the failed plea deal — the other three men would likely not face trial at all.
That separation should not stand. All four of them took part in George Floyd's death, working together, and they need to go down together. Because change is not going to happen if cops can get away with not stopping a murderous colleague.