4 police officers indicted on federal civil rights charges — George Floyd case


Four former Minneapolis police officers, including convicted murderer Derek Chauvin, were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that they violated George Floyd's constitutional rights when they restrained him on the pavement during the fatal encounter previous year, according to court documents.

All four are accused of "deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs", the indictment says.

Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, stemming from the arrest and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Former Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Chauvin was convicted last month on charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death and is awaiting sentencing in a Minnesota maximum security prison. His lawyers have requested a new trial, saying that there was prosecutorial and jury misconduct and errors of law at trial and that the verdict was contrary to the law.

The indictment says Chauvin deprived Floyd of the right to be free of "unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer".

Thao, Kueng and Lane, all of whom were fired and arrested days after Floyd died last May, face charges at a trial on August 23 that they aided and abetted second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd.

Chauvin was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law for his direct role in 46-year-old Floyd's May 25, 2020, death.

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A second count says he "held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also resulting in bodily injury".

The three former officers appeared with their attorneys in federal court Friday via video conference, and all three were released on $25,000 bond. Court documents alleged that Chauvin hit the boy with his flashlight, grabbed him by the throat, and hit him again, the Star Tribune reported.

"The federal government has a responsibility to protect the civil rights of every American and to pursue justice to the fullest extent of federal law", said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is serving as special prosecutor on the state's cases.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said the federal charges against the officers show the Justice Department "does not excuse it nor allow police to act as though as what they do is acceptable behavior in the line of duty". Floyd's young daughter met President Joe Biden on the campaign trial, and he often repeats her statement that her "daddy changed the world".

"The charges announced today are criminal, while the pattern or practice investigation is a civil investigation that will be conducted separately and independently from the criminal case, and will be handled by a different team of career staff from the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office", the department said. At the time, it was the most significant civil rights prosecution undertaken by Biden's Justice Department.

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The Justice Department investigation has run parallel to the state's cases.