4 cops indicted on civil rights charges — George Floyd death

George Floyd death

Derek Chauvin, 3 Others Now Face Federal Criminal Charges : Live Updates: Trial Over George Floyd's Killing

Chauvin, Thao and Kueng are charged with violating George Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force.

According to the indictment, "the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd".

A separate federal indictment charged Chauvin with using unreasonable force against a 14-year-old Minneapolis resident in a 4 September, 2017 incident.

Lane, Thao and Kueng appeared by videolink in US District Court in Minneapolis. Chauvin was not part of the court appearance. The charges come weeks after a Minneapolis jury convicted Chauvin on April 20 of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death.

The three other officers involved in Floyd's death are awaiting trial. They were allowed to remain free after Friday's federal court appearance.

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A video taken by a bystander showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as he was handcuffed facedown on the street struggling to breathe.

Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd - state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd's back and Lane held down Floyd's legs. Chauvin has moved for a new trial, citing alleged jury misconduct and pretrial publicity.

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

The indictment unsealed Friday accuses Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao of depriving Floyd of his rights under the law during the arrest on May 25, 2020, that left Floyd dead and touched off a wave of global protests.

Minnesota Atty. Gen. Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the state charges, said that the USA government was responsible for protecting Americans' civil rights and that "federal prosecution for the violation of George Floyd's civil rights is entirely appropriate", particularly in light of Chauvin's murder conviction.

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Conviction on a federal civil rights charge is punishable by up to life in prison or even the death penalty, but such sentences are extremely rare and federal guidelines rely on complicated formulas that indicate the officers would get much less if convicted. 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". The youth was bleeding from the ear and needed two stitches. 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". 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 current Attorney General, Merrick Garland, told ABC News he was "shocked" by the video of Floyd's death and saddened by the persistence of racial discrimination in housing, education and the justice system.

The case is yet another demonstration of the Biden administration's emphasis on civil rights.

The U.S. Justice Department last month announced it was opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis. Experts say he will likely face no more than 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in June. Kim Potter faces a manslaughter charge after the death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn. All four officers were fired.

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