July 9 (UPI) — The judge overseeing the cases of the four former officers charged in the killing of Geroge Floyd issued a gag order barring attorneys from speaking publicly about the case on Thursday.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill issued the order that prevents attorneys and others working on the case from publicly discussing “opinions, strategies, plans or potential evidence,” related to the case surrounding the killing that has sparked global protests and calls for police reform and abolition.
“The court finds that continuing pretrial publicity in this case by the attorneys involved will increase the risk of tainting a potential jury pool and will impair all parties’ right to a fair trial,” wrote Cahill.
Cahill’s decision came after transcripts of police body camera footage from the scene were released after an attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the former officers charged in Floyd’s death, filed a motion to dismiss counts of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter against his client.
The transcripts show Floyd said the words “please” and “I can’t breathe” dozens of times as four officers restrained him during a May 25 arrest on suspicion of forgery.
Floyd ultimately died during the Memorial Day encounter and bystander video of the encounter sparked a global wave of protests and calls for racial equality and justice.
Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao face similar charges to Lane, while veteran officer Derek Chauvin, the one seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
The documents indicate Floyd refused to put his hands up during his arrest and would not get into a squad car due to claustrophobia, saying he would rather be restrained on the pavement.
“Please don’t shoot me, Mr. Officer. Please, don’t shoot me, man. Please. Can you not shoot me, man?” Floyd said as Lane ordered him out of his car.
Later, as Floyd was pinned on the street, he kept calling, “Mama, mama, mama,” saying he couldn’t breathe.
“I’m through, I’m through. I’m claustrophobic,” Floyd said. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please. Please? I can’t breathe, officer.”
Chauvin responded, “Then stop talking, stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk,” according to the transcript.
Floyd’s final words were recorded as, “Come on, man. Oh, oh. I cannot breathe. Cannot breathe. Ah! They’ll kill me. They’ll kill me. I can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. Oh! Ah! Ah! Please. Please. Please.”
The transcript also shows that Lane expressed concern for Floyd’s condition and asked Chauvin if they should turn him over onto his side.
“No, he’s staying put where we got him,” Chauvin answered.