Two body-worn camera videos from the day George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police were publicly released Monday by the court after a coalition of media companies intervened and argued for their unrestrained release.
The move comes more than a month after a defense attorney filed the two videos with the court as part of a motion, which makes them public data under state law. The court initially withheld them out of concern that it might taint the jury pool, then allowed them to be viewed by appointment.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill issued an order Friday changing his position on the videos recorded by former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane and allowing their broad release. The judge wrote in his order that a memorandum explaining his decision would be filed at a later date.
The media coalition seeking access to the videos included the Star Tribune; American Public Media, which owns Minnesota Public Radio; the Associated Press; CBS Broadcasting Inc.; Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal; Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP-TV; and the New York Times Co., among others.
Minneapolis lawyer Leita Walker, who represents the coalition, argued the matter at a hearing before Cahill in late July. The judge took the issue under advisement at the time.
Attorney Earl Gray had filed the two videos with the court on July 7 to support his motion to dismiss the criminal charges against Lane, his client.
By appointment last month, the Star Tribune viewed both videos, which totaled about 65 minutes. The footage 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 a convenience store on May 25 on a report that Floyd had allegedly used a fake $20 bill. Their former colleagues, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin, later showed up to assist.
Before Cahill released the videos, someone leaked portions of them to the Daily Mail, a British media company, which published them online Aug. 3. The leak is under investigation.
Lane, Kueng and Thao are each charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
Chauvin is charged with one count each of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 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.