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Policing on Trial: Attorney Ben Crump on Fed Case Against Three Cops Involved in George Floyd Murder

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The Minneapolis judge who signed the no-knock warrant that led to the fatal police shooting of 22-year-old Black man Amir Locke also presided over the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer convicted for the murder of George Floyd. The trial of three officers facing lesser charges — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — is currently underway after being delayed when one of the defendants tested positive for COVID. The trial will show the importance of accountability even from police who are bystanders to murder, says Benjamin Crump, part of the legal team for George Floyd’s family.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Before we end — we only have a minute — I want to ask about the federal civil rights trial that’s underway for the three former Minneapolis police officers in connection with the murder of George Floyd. The proceedings are getting underway again this week after the court delayed the trial after the judge revealed one of the defendants in the case tested positive for COVID-19 — the officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. You represent the family, of course, of George Floyd, Ben Crump. If you can talk about the significance of this trial? Two of these officers were on the third and fourth day of being cops.

BENJAMIN CRUMP: Yeah. Amy, what’s so important about this is, obviously, Derek Chauvin’s conviction was important; however, the culture of policing has to be held accountable. And, you know, oftentimes they say, “You know, well, this was one bad apple. They’re the good cops.” Well, the good cops have to speak up when they see the bad cops violate the constitutional rights of minorities and kill us. And so, this trial is very important because we’re looking now at the culture of policing in America. And just like with Amir Locke, the policy killed Amir more than those bullets, well, the policy and the culture of policing kill more Black people than oftentimes the bullets.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to leave it there. I also want to comment that the — it was the judge in the Derek Chauvin trial that signed the no-knock warrant in the case of what ultimately led to the killing of Amir Locke. Ben Crump, leading civil rights attorney, attorney for the families of both George Floyd and Amir Locke, and Nekima Levy Armstrong, Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist and founder of the Racial Justice Network, former president of the Minneapolis NAACP. Nekima, now you can go and tend to your baby, and all our best wishes to your baby.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Thank you so much.

AMY GOODMAN: Next up, we go to Oakland, where a group of teachers have entered the eighth day of a hunger strike to protest a plan to close and merge over a dozen schools for mostly Black and Latinx students. Stay with us.

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