MINNEAPOLIS — Video from the body cameras of two officers charged in George Floyd’s death has been made available for public viewing by appointment on Wednesday, but a judge thus far has declined to allow news organizations to publish the footage for wider distribution.
Jennifer Mayerle, of WCCO News, was among the people who were given access to screen the video. The news agency said her descriptions will be forthcoming.
Footage from the body cameras of Thomas Lane and J. Kueng was filed with the court last week by Lane’s attorney, but only the written transcripts were made public. A coalition of news organizations and attorneys for Lane and Kueng have said that making the videos public would provide a more complete picture of what happened when Floyd was taken into custody.
The viewing was taking place on the same day Floyd family attorney Ben Crump was announcing a lawsuit against the city and the police officers involved in his death, according to WCCO.
Members of the media and the public are viewing the video Wednesday by appointment at the courthouse. The media coalition, which includes The Associated Press, has said this arrangement is the equivalent of keeping the videos under seal, and the coalition is asking Judge Peter Cahill to allow the media to copy the videos and publish them. Cahill hasn’t said why he’s not allowing the video to be disseminated more widely.
The body camera videos and transcripts were filed in court last week by Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, as part of a motion to have Lane’s case dismissed. Gray said at the time that he wanted the videos to be made public, telling the Star Tribune that they would show the “whole picture.” Gray said the bystander video shows just the last piece of what happened and “is not fair.”
Gray’s motion highlighted portions of the body camera video that show Floyd “actively resisting and acting erratic” with officers. It also noted Floyd’s “request” to be put on the ground. Gray also argued that Lane didn’t have a clear view of what Chauvin was doing, WCCO reported.
Kueng’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, said in a court filing that he also wants the videos made public. He said releasing information in piecemeal fashion has been catastrophic, leading to incomplete reporting by the media and unfairly portraying evidence in favor of the prosecution.
The transcripts show Floyd appearing cooperative at times but becoming agitated as he begged not to be put in a squad car, saying repeatedly he was claustrophobic. The transcripts also detailed Floyd thrashing about in the back of the squad car to the point where he injured himself.
The footage will likely also will show what Lane, Kueng and Floyd did during the struggle, rather than what was merely said. It could also pick up on nonverbal cues that are not captured in the transcripts, such as labored breathing, tone of voice or physical reactions.