Portions of body-camera footage showing the deadly arrest of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police were leaked and published Monday, despite recording and public distribution of the videos being prohibited.
The footage was made available for viewing at the Hennepin County courthouse last month by appointment only.
But The Daily Mail said it exclusively obtained the May 25 footage from the body cameras of former rookie officers Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng. The video shows about 18 minutes from Kueng's body cam and 10 minutes from Lane's.
The pair were the first to arrive at the Cup Foods convenience store after a complaint that Floyd allegedly tried to pass off a fake $20 bill. Video shot by bystanders showing an officer pinning his knee into Floyd's next for nearly nine minutes before his death sparked global outrage and unleashed a wave of protests against police brutality and racial injustice that still continues.
Hennepin County District Court spokesman Spenser Bickett told Fox News the court was aware of the leak.
"The court is working with the Hennepin County Sheriff and investigating how the Daily Mail obtained copies of two video exhibits," Bickett said.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill barred the videos from being viewed outside the courthouse despite opposition from media groups. He is presiding over the case involving now-former police officers Kueng, Lane, Tou Thau and Derek Chauvin.
The Daily Mail videos appear to have been recorded on a device while being played on a laptop. The Star Tribune said the courts have provided laptops to view the footage and require attendees to put away their personal electronic devices during viewing sessions.
A coalition of media organizations is challenging the viewing restrictions, arguing the videos should be made available to the public. In July, attorney Earl Gray, who represents Lane, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against his client, citing the videos as evidence.
The footage showed Lane pointing a gun at Floyd and forcing him out of his vehicle.
"Hey man, I'm sorry,'" Floyd says in response to Lane.
Floyd was given no explanation as to why he was being questioned, according to the news report.
Ben Crump, the attorney for the Floyd family, said the footage reinforces that Floyd posed no threat to the four officers.
“The more video evidence you see, the more unjustifiable George Floyd's torture and death at the hands of the police becomes," Crump said Monday in a statement. "Although the allegation against George was for a non-violent offense involving a $20 bill, the police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man.
"As this video shows, he never posed any threat," he added. "The officers' contradictions continue to build. If not for the videos, the world might never have known about the wrongs committed against George Floyd.”
While pinned to the ground with Chauvin's knee on his neck, Floyd repeatedly told the officers he couldn't breathe and begged them to stop.
Lane is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death. Kueng and Thao are also facing two charges each of aiding and abetting. Chauvin faces the most serious charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.