Body camera video of prior George Floyd arrest released

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill rejected the state’s motion to seal the body camera video of George Floyd’s prior arrest, which has been described as showing “remarkably similar behavior” to his deadly arrest on Memorial Day. The video will soon be released to the public. 

At an evidence hearing Thursday, Cahill heard arguments on the motion filed by prosecutors to restrict public access to new filings in the case for two business days before they can be released. A media coalition, which includes FOX 9, opposed the motion because it would interfere with the public’s right to access court proceedings.

The motion was filed after the defense moved earlier this week to admit Floyd’s May 2019 arrest as evidence. The defense claims the body camera video from the arrest captured similar behavior from Floyd with police such as crying, pleading for his mom and evasive drug tactics. 

At the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank argued for keeping a two-day hold on all future pre-trial filings to give parties time to decide whether evidence and motions might poison a prospective jury. He said releasing the video of Floyd’s 2019 arrest before the trial would taint the jury.

In his ruling, Cahull said body camera video of Floyd's prior arrest is one small piece of evidence. It will drive home to public and a prospective jury that Floyd was previously arrested, but it is not "unduly prejudicial," he said.  But not "unduly prejudicial." He added that the video the video might eventually be beneficial for prosecutors. 

All four of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death have been released on bond, including Derek Chauvin, but they all waived their right to appear in court for Thursday’s hearing. 

Cahill did not rule Thursday on motions to move the trial out of Hennepin County, join the four cases into one or dismiss the charges altogether.   

For now, the trial for the former officers remains scheduled for March 8.