A British media company on Monday published segments of two leaked body-worn camera videos showing the arrest and death of George Floyd in May at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The Daily Mail published an article with the videos on its website at 10:53 a.m. Central time. It showed about 10 minutes of video from former officer Thomas Lane's bodycam and about 18 minutes from former officer J. Alexander Kueng's bodycam.
The two former officers' bodycam videos were made available for public viewing inside the Hennepin County courthouse in mid-July, but were prohibited from being recorded or publicly distributed.
It's unclear how the Daily Mail got the videos. The article said they were "leaked" to the company.
Hennepin County District Court spokesman Spenser Bickett confirmed that the court was aware of the leak, and said an investigation was underway. "The court will provide no further comment on this matter at this time," Bickett said in an e-mail.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the prosecution of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd's death, issued a statement that he was not the source of the leak.
"We will continue to take the strictest precautions to ensure a fair trial," Ellison said.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill is presiding over the former officers' cases. Cahill had prohibited the videos from being distributed outside of the courthouse. He also prohibited the media and public from recording them when they were made available.
The videos published by the Daily Mail appeared to have been recorded on a device while they were played on a laptop in a courthouse conference room.
The courts had provided a large room and several laptops to view the videos, and required attendees to stow away their own personal laptops and cellphones during the hourlong viewing sessions. Sheriff's deputies and court staff were stationed throughout the room as several members of the media and public viewed the videos.
The two videos, which totaled about 65 minutes, were viewable by the media and public by appointment only. Sixty-six slots were made available.
Attorney Earl Gray had filed the videos in court in early July as evidence supporting his motion to dismiss the charges against Lane, his client. Court filings make evidence, including bodycam footage, public data, according to state law.
A coalition of local and national media companies, including the Star Tribune, filed a motion in July seeking immediate release of the videos. Cahill took the issue under advisement and has not issued a decision on the matter.
The videos, which were viewed by Star Tribune reporters in July, showed that Floyd was given no explanation for why he was being questioned before Lane pointed a gun and swore at him, touched him multiple times and forced him out of his vehicle into the street.
Kueng and Lane had responded to Cup Foods on May 25 on a report that Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill. They arrested Floyd. Their former colleagues, Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao, arrived later to help them.
Kueng, Lane and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case. Prosecutors have said Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 8 minutes, but Kueng's video showed that it was about 9 minutes and 30 seconds.
The bodycam videos and a video recorded by a bystander showed that Floyd repeatedly told the officers he couldn't breathe, and that several bystanders pleaded with them to stop, but were ignored.
Cahill set the matter for trial next March.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708