Judge denies Daily Mail credential for ex-officer’s trial

March 24, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has denied a credential for a British newspaper seeking to cover a former police officer’s trial in George Floyd’s death, citing its publication of footage from police body cameras before its public release.

Hennepin County Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette on Wednesday denied the Daily Mail access to a media center across the street from the courthouse where Derek Chauvin is to be tried, along with access to trial exhibits and “all media updates related to the trial.”

Media organizations are sharing reports from two seats in the courtroom during the trial, with opening statements Monday after more than two weeks of jury selection.

In August, the London-based Daily Mail published parts of body camera videos from two Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest on May 25. The trial judge had earlier allowed journalists and members of the public to view the footage on laptop computers by appointment, but hadn’t yet ruled on a motion from news organizations for public access to publish the videos.

Barnette described the footage as “stolen” in a Wednesday order that he said formalized a decision reached months earlier and was issued at the Daily Mail’s request so the outlet could seek a legal review.

“It has not been proven to the Court whether the Daily Mail did or did not play a role in the theft of the footage,” Barnette wrote. “It is clear, however, that the Daily Mail was the first media outlet to publish the stolen footage.”

Representatives of the Daily Mail did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment left Wednesday night London time.

Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The Black man was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe. The widely seen video set off street protests in Minneapolis, some violent, that spread across the U.S. and the world.