The Justice Department announced Friday that a federal grand jury has returned indictments against the four former Minneapolis police officers responsible for causing the death of George Floyd. In an attempt to establish a pattern of violent behavior, the prosecution charged Derek Chauvin with deprivation of rights in a separate incident after he allegedly hit a teenager in the head with a flashlight and knelt on the back of the handcuffed teen’s neck.
On May 25, 2020, Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Derek Chauvin were recorded on video arresting George Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Despite the fact that Floyd’s hands were cuffed behind his back, Chauvin knelt against the back of his neck for nine minutes as several bystanders begged the officers not to kill Floyd.
Last month, Chauvin was found guilty on state charges of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Thou, Lane, and Kueng currently face state charges of aiding and abetting both second degree murder and manslaughter in addition to the federal charges.
On Friday, the federal indictments against the four former officers were unsealed. All four defendants were charged with deprivation of rights under color of law by willfully failing to aid Floyd, who was “in clear need of medical care.”
Kueng and Thao face another count of deprivation of rights for willfully failing to intervene or attempt to stop Chauvin from using unreasonable force against Floyd. Lane was not charged because he was recorded on police body cam footage asking Chauvin twice if they should roll Floyd on his side. Chauvin denied both requests.
Chauvin was charged with another count of deprivation of rights under color of law by violating Floyd’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer. Specifically, Chauvin held his left knee across Floyd’s neck, and his right knee on Floyd’s back and arm, as Floyd lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting, and kept his knees on Floyd’s neck and body even after he became unresponsive.
According to the second
indictment unsealed on Friday, Chauvin assaulted a 14-year-old student by
grabbing him by the throat and repeatedly striking him in the head with a
flashlight after the boy refused to get up off the floor. Although the teen was
“lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting,” Chauvin allegedly choked him unconscious
by kneeling against the back of the boy’s neck on September 4, 2017.
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