This summer, hundreds of pages of sworn testimony from Hennepin County attorneys and county employees involved in the case of George Floyd revealed the “extreme pressure” prosecutors faced in Hennepin County to charge Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers for the death of George Floyd.
Per Alpha News, multiple employees of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, including a prosecutor for the case, withdrew after stating that the pressure to charge the other three officers involved, "violated professional and ethical rules."
This information has come out after being included in a sex discrimination complaint filed by former Hennepin County prosecutor, Amy Sweasy, one of the office’s top prosecutors, against County Attorney Mike Freeman.
In the 2022 complaint, she alleges that she “disagreed with CA (county attorney) about the charging in a case” stating that she believed they “violated professional and ethical rules.” She ultimately withdrew from the case, further claiming that three other male assistant attorneys also disagreed with Freeman, and refused to work on the case.
After the disagreement, Sweasy alleges that “CA engaged in discrimination and reprisal against me which included, but was not limited to, ostracizing me, treating me hostilely, removing job duties and refusing to assign me to the role for which I was trained.”
The attorney for former Minneapolis police officers, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, tied Sweasy’s statement to the George Floyd case, writing that, “On May 20, 2022, a complaint went public relating to The Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman harassing and retaliating against prosecuting attorney Amy Sweasy — after she disagreed for wanting to charge Mr. Thao, Mr. Lane, and Mr. Kueng for their involvement,” per Alpha News
Hennepin County has since settled with Sweasy, agreeing to pay her $190,000.
Further documents reveal that Senior Assistant County Attorney Patrick Lofton who worked alongside Sweasy, stated that, “the relationship between Sweasy and Freeman soured after Lofton and Sweasy withdrew from the officers’ cases formally on June 3, 2020,” per Alpha News.
During a June 6th deposition, Lofton went on to discuss the “extreme premium pressure” prosecutors were under to charge Derek Chauvin and the other officers involved, since, “the city was burning down,” per Lofton.
During Sweasy’s deposition, she went on to discuss a conversation she had with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, the day after Floyd’s death.
According to Sweasy, after performing an autopsy on Floyd, Baker stated that “there were no medical findings that showed any injury to the vital structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck. There were no medical indications of asphyxia or strangulation,” per the transcript.
Per Sweasy, Baker then went on to state, “‘Amy, what happens when the actual evidence doesn’t match up with the public narrative that everyone’s already decided on?’ And then he said, ‘This is the kind of case that ends careers.’”
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