J. Alexander Keung, one of the four former Minneapolis police officers accused in the murder of George Floyd, will plead not guilty on claims of self-defense, according to court documents. Keung, along with Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder in the May 25 incident, all appeared in court on Monday as part of a pretrial hearing.
Keung, Thao and Lane face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Documents obtained by Law and Crime show that Keung "intends to rely upon" self-defense, reasonable use of force and the authorized use of force. This is all a part of Rule 9 order disclosure, which is necessary for the state of Minnesota, and self-defense is among the defenses that can be presented. None of the other former officers entered a plea as of this writing. Chauvin was not present, instead of appearing over broadcast from a state prison while Keung and Lane were the only two to show in person. Thao remains in custody.
In claiming he was at risk, Keung will have to prove four separate things all beyond a reasonable doubt. These include aggression, the belief that he was in "imminent danger," the existence of reasonable grounds for that mindset and lastly, the inability to be able to safely retreat to avoid any danger. Along with self-defense, Keung's plan to lean on the fact that he had a reason to use force will also have to hit specific criteria, including that he felt at harm if the "person's apprehension is delayed." His third plan of defense will be that there was authorized use of force. This means he will have to prove that "reasonable force may be used upon or toward a person of another without the other's consent."
On June 21, Keung was spotted at Cub Foods in the city grocery shopping after getting out on bail. The 26-year-old was recorded by another shopper, even engaging with the person when she asked if he was the officer involved in Floyd's death. He said he was "getting necessities" as the woman told him she did not think he had the right to do that, to which he responded, "I can understand that." In the arrest of Floyd, Keung was seen helping to restrain him as Chauvin placed his knee on the back of his neck.