George Floyd case: Four police officers indicted on federal civil rights charge

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(MINNEAPOLIS) — Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death were indicted Friday on federal civil rights charges.

The indictment alleges Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane deprived Floyd’s rights when they saw him lying on the ground “in clear need” of medical care, but “willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm.”

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.

“Chauvin held his left knee across George Floyd’s neck, and his right knee on Floyd’s back and arm, as George Floyd lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting, and kept his knees on Floyd’s neck and body even after Floyd became unresponsive,” the indictment said. “This offense resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of George Floyd.”

In addition to allegedly violating Floyd’s rights, Chauvin is named in a second, separate indictment filed on Thursday for deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly violating the civil rights of a 14-year-old in 2017. The indictment said “Chauvin, without legal justification, held” the teen “by the throat and struck Juvenile 1 multiple times in the head with a flashlight.” Chauvin is also accused of holding “his knee on the neck and the upper back of Juvenile 1 even after Juvenile 1 was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting.”

Thao and Kueng are separately charged in count two of the indictment for depriving Floyd’s rights, with the grand jury accusing them of being “aware that [Chauvin] was holding his knee across George Floyd’s neck as Floyd lay handcuffed and unresisting, and that Defendant Chauvin continued to hold Floyd to the ground even after Floyd became unresponsive, and the defendants willfully failed to intervene to stop Defendant Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force.”

Chauvin was convicted last month on all charges against him: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The three other officers involved in Floyd’s death are awaiting trial. After appearing in court Friday morning over the new federal charges against them, all three were released on $25,000 bond.

The Justice Department in a statement Friday noted the charges were separate from its recently announced and still ongoing civil “pattern or practice” investigation looking into the policing practices of the entire Minneapolis Police Department.

“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.

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