CARTHAGE, S.D. (KELO) — The federal trial for three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights is underway in Minneapolis.
The events surrounding Floyd’s death have gained national attention and the trial taking place right now has a South Dakota connection.
The judge presiding over the trial is U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson.
Magnuson grew up in the tiny town of Carthage, South Dakota and still has friends there today who he still keeps in contact with.
Carthage is a quiet little farm town where you can hear the snow melt.
But on Main Street at the Cabaret people are talking a lot this week about one of their own, Paul Magnuson, who is presiding over one of the most watched trials in the country.
“Paul was a year younger than I was,” Marlin Clendening said.
Marlin Clendening says he remembers Magnuson, a 1955 graduate, as being a tremendous athlete who played basketball, tossed the discus in track, and played football for Carthage High School.
“The football team at that time, they won 20 some games in a row, we even beat Howard,” Clendening said.
The school is no longer open, but if the hallways could talk, they would tell the story of Paul Magnuson, the young farm kid who had a lot of potential.
“I’m sure his father wanted him to be a farmer, but he wasn’t cut out to be a farmer, his interest weren’t there, he was just too intelligent,” Sally Madison said.
Magnuson’s house is still standing, in fact, it’s considered to be the largest house in Miner County.
Clendening says he knew Magnuson would go far in whatever he chose to do in life, but was kind of surprised to learn he had become a federal judge.
“I heard about him being a federal judge when I was out in the field in my tractor listening to the news one day, little news item about a judge from Minneapolis was appointed a federal judge and what not, ‘Oh I know that guy you know.’ Clendening laughed.
“We didn’t know how damn important he was,” Clendening said.
A guy, who still stops by every now and then just to say hi.
“Hey you come back again for Strawbale Days, class reunion, Paul I’ll always have a prime rib waiting for you it would be an honor to meet you,” Travis Grace said.
The three former police officers are charged with failing to provide George Floyd with medical care.
Two of the officers face an additional count for failing to stop Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter last year.