Grand jury indicts four ex-officers involved in George Floyd’s death

Grand jury indicts four ex-officers involved in George Floyd’s death

Three other former officers on the scene that day - Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - have been charged federally in connection with Floyd's death.

The first indictment says Thao and Kueng were aware Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck, even after Floyd became unresponsive, and "willfully failed to intervene to stop Defendant Chauvin's use of unreasonable force".

The grand jury also indicted Chauvin in a separate case stemming from a 2017 incident where he allegedly pinned a 14-year-old boy during an arrest.

Floyd's death prompted protests against racism and police brutality previous year in many cities across the United States and around the world.

Thao, Kueng and Lane also face state charges, including aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Kueng, and Tou Thao were named in the indictment (pdf), although Thao, Chauvin, and Keung were charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force.

The three other officers involved in Floyd's death are awaiting trial.

"Chauvin 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", it said.

The new federal charges come in addition to the state's cases, which means that all four could face new trials in federal court.

If Chauvin were found not guilty on all counts or the case ended in a mistrial, the Justice Department planned to arrest him at the courthouse on the federal charges, according to multiple sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record.

News of the indictments were celebrated by civil rights leaders and activists like the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, who said in a statement the charges show "we have a Justice Department that deals with police criminality and does not excuse it".

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the state's prosecution against Chauvin, called the charges "entirely appropriate", saying the federal government had a "responsibility to protect the civil rights of every American and to pursue justice to the fullest extent of federal law".

The U.S. Justice Department last month announced it was opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.

President Joe Biden's administration has made policing reform a major issue. To succeed, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin acted "willfully" to deprive Floyd of his civil rights and used force that was "constitutionally unreasonable".

A day after the conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, the entire Minneapolis police department is under a federal investigation. Thao, 35, Kueng, 27, Lane, 38, appeared in a virtual court hearing Friday morning to hear the charges against them and were allowed to remain free on bond, the Associated Press reported.

Garland announced a similar probe into policing in Louisville, Kentucky, over the March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police during a raid at her home. All four officers were fired.

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