4 ex-cops indicted on US civil rights charges in Floyd death

BREAKING NEWS: Derek Chauvin is indicted by federal court for violating George Floyd’s civil rights AND case where he knelt on neck of boy, 14, for 17 minutes in 2017 as other Floyd cops also face civil rights charges

  • A federal grand jury indicted Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao Friday, accusing them of willfully violating Floyd’s civil rights 
  • All four cops have been charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd 
  • Chauvin, Thao and Kueng are also charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force
  • Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, over a separate 2017 incident where he knelt on a black 14-year-old boy’s neck for nearly 17 minutes
  • This is the first time the convicted killer has ever faced charges for this incident 
  • The federal charges are separate to the state’s which led to Chauvin’s trial and conviction last month
  • The other three officers face trial together on August 23 on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter

Derek Chauvin and the three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death have now been indicted on federal charges for violating his civil rights. 

A federal grand jury indicted Chauvin, 45, Thomas Lane, 38, J. Alexander Kueng, 27, and Tou Thao, 35, accusing them of willfully violating Floyd’s civil rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air.  

All four cops have been charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd as he lay dying in the streets of Minneapolis last May.

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

Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, over a 2017 incident where he knelt on a black 14-year-old boy’s neck for nearly 17 minutes. This is the first time the convicted killer has ever faced charges over this incident.  

The federal civil rights charges – akin to hate crimes – are separate to the state’s which led to Chauvin’s trial and murder conviction last month. 

The other three officers face trial together on August 23 on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane left to right in booking photos in June

Floyd pictured above died last Memorial Day when Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 

The two indictments were unsealed Friday. 

Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Kueng appeared via videoconference in US District Court in Minneapolis, while Chauvin was not part of the court appearance. 

The first indictment contained three counts.  

‘Count One of the indictment alleges that on May 25, 2020, Chauvin held his left knee across Mr. 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 Mr. Floyd’s neck and body even after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive,’ the indictment reads.

This violated Floyd’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer and resulted in Floyd’s injury and death.

The second count charges Thao and Kueng for failing to intervene to stop Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force. 

The third count alleges all four cops saw Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care and failed to aid him. 

Surveillance video shows Minneapolis police Officers from left, Tou Thao, Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are seen attempting to take Floyd into custody 

‘By doing so, all four defendants willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes an arrestee’s right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical need,’ according to the indictment.

‘This offense resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, Mr. Floyd.’ 

Thao, Lane and Kueng are only charged over Floyd’s death.

Meanwhile, a second unsealed indictment also charges Chauvin with willfully depriving the rights of a black teen back in 2017 to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.

The teen is not named in the indictment and is only referred to as ‘Juvenile 1.’

Chauvin is charged with two counts over this incident. 

The first count alleges Chauvin held the boy by the throat and struck him multiple times in the head with a dangerous weapon – a flashlight – causing him injury. 

The second count charges that Chauvin held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teen even after the 14-year-old was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also causing him bodily injury.

The federal charges are separate to the criminal charges already brought by the state of Minnesota against the former cops. 

The Justice Department’s investigation had been running in parallel to the state’s with evidence being presented before a grand jury of 23 citizens who ultimately decided if there was probable cause to bring charges. 

Sources said last week that federal investigators were preparing to bring charges in the federal case against the four cops but it was unclear whether they would wait until after the criminal trial of Thao, Kueng and Lane was wrapped up.  

Federal prosecutors had reportedly been concerned about jeopardizing the state’s case against Chauvin by announcing charges while his state trial was ongoing.  

Chauvin is led away in handcuffs after being convicted of all charges in the criminal case last month 

Chauvin was convicted last month on state charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and taken to Minnesota’s maximum security prison Oak Park Heights.  

He will be sentenced on June 25 after the court pushed it back from its initial date of June 16. He faces up to 40 years in prison.        

The three other cops face trial together on August 23 on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. 

They deny those allegations, and were fired from their jobs at Minneapolis PD in the wake of Floyd’s death.  

The Minnesota AG’s Office wants to also add a charge of aiding and abetting third-degree murder to each of their cases. 

They are free on bond and were allowed to remain free after Friday’s federal court appearance.   

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, even as Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t 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. 

State prosecutors say Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, argued during his murder trial that Chauvin acted reasonably in the situation and that Floyd died because of underlying health issues and drug use.

He has filed a request for a new trial, citing many issues including the judge’s refusal to move the trial due to publicity.

Nelson had no comment on the federal charges Friday. Messages left with attorneys for two of the other officers were not immediately returned, and an attorney for the fourth officer was getting in an elevator and disconnected when reached by The Associated Press.

Floyd’s arrest and death, which a bystander captured on cellphone video, sparked protests nationwide and widespread calls for an end to police brutality and racial inequities.

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