Judge orders George Floyd trial to be livestreamed

Decision to broadcast hearing of the custodial death case that shook America is upheld

FILE - In this May 31, 2020 file photo, visitors make silent visits to organic memorial featuring a mural of George Floyd, near the spot where he died while in police custody, in Minneapolis, Minn. On Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2020, the Minneapolis City Council will decide whether to shrink the city's police department while violent crime is already soaring and redirect funding toward alternatives for reducing violence. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
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A US judge has upheld his decision to livestream the trial of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd.

Judge Peter Cahill said he would allow video coverage because of immense global interest in the case and limited courthouse space, the Star Tribune reported. The trial is scheduled for March.

In his order issued on Friday, Mr Cahill dismissed concerns by state prosecutors, who argued last month that recording audio and visuals of the trial would breach court rules and scare away potential witnesses. Attorney General Keith Ellison's office, which is leading the prosecution, asked that Mr Cahill rescind his previous ruling or consider narrowing the scope of outside access.

The judge, who declined to modify his original ruling, said he had granted more extensive video coverage than allowed in court rules but he is permitted to modify the rules "in any case to prevent manifest injustice".

A coalition of media organisations, including The Associated Press, had requested camera access, arguing that cameras would increase transparency, especially during the pandemic.

Floyd died while being arrested on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee against the black man's neck for several minutes even after he could not breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, faces second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter charges. Three other officers involved in the arrest are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were removed from service.