This combination of photos, provided by the Hennepin County Minnesota Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday June 3, 2020, shows Derek Chauvin from left, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao. Chauvin is charged with the murder of George Floyd, second degree, a black man who died after being detained by him and other Minneapolis police officers on May 25th. Kueng, Lane and Thao were accused of helping and assisting Chauvin.
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office | AP
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin listens to a jury found guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States on April 20, 2021 found in a still image from video.
Pool via Reuters
Federal prosecution accuses Chauvin, who held his knee on or around the neck of a handcuffed and recumbent Floyd for more than nine minutes, killing the 46-year-old while violating his right before the use of inappropriate force officer to be protected by a police force.
It also accuses two of Chauvin’s colleagues – Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng – of “deliberately” failing to intervene to prevent Chauvin from using unreasonable force, a failure that also led to Floyd’s death.
All three ex-officers, along with the fourth, Thomas Lane, are accused of causing Floyd to die by deliberately failing to help him when they saw Floyd “lying on the floor clearly in need of medical attention”.
Floyd was arrested by police on suspicion of using a counterfeit invoice in a purchase.
In the separate federal indictment related to his arrest of the 14-year-old, Chauvin is also charged with holding his knee by the boy’s neck and upper back, even after the teenager was “prone, handcuffed and unopposed”.
“This crime resulted in bodily harm to the boy,” the prosecution said.
Chauvin, whose actions against the boy were caught on camera, responded to a call from a woman who said her son and daughter assaulted her, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The Star Tribune also reported that Chauvin repeatedly hit the boy in the head with his flashlight after the boy refused to get off the floor and then choked the boy unconscious with his knee.
The federal criminal charges are separate from a US Department of Justice investigation into the practices of the Minneapolis Police Department announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland the day after Chauvin was convicted.
Garland said the probe will assess whether the MPD “has a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests”.
The Star Tribune reported last week that following the state jury rulings against Chauvin, prosecutors ordered a grand jury in the Minnesota District Court to indict Chauvin and the other three police officers involved in the arrest of Floyd. The newspaper had also reported that federal authorities wanted to indict Chauvin over the 14-year-old case.
Chauvin, an 18-year-old police veteran, is due to be tried in June.
His attorneys appealed earlier this week, arguing that public relations work on the case last year violated Chauvin’s right to a fair trial. The appeal also said the trial judge wrongly failed to grant a defense motion attempting to bring Chauvin to justice outside of Minneapolis.
All four ex-cops are charged in the new federal indictment of deprivation of rights under the color of the law for “deliberately depriving George Floyd of the right to be free and protected by the Constitution and United States law, free to be safe from improper seizure, which includes the right to be exempt from the use of improper force by a police officer. “
One of the counts, directed exclusively to Chauvin, is that the cop kept his left knee over Floyd’s neck and his right knee over Floyd’s back and arm, and kept his knees on Floyd’s neck and body even after Floyd stopped responding. “”
“This crime resulted in the assault and death of George Floyd,” the indictment read.
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Count two of the indictment states that Thao and Keung were “aware” that Chauvin was using his knee to hold Floyd by the neck and that he continued to do so “after Floyd stopped responding.”
“The defendants deliberately failed to intervene to stop the use of inappropriate force by the defendant Chauvin,” the indictment reads. “This crime resulted in bodily harm and the death of George Floyd.”
All four officers are collectively charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights by “deliberately acting indifferent to his serious medical needs.”
“In particular, the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the floor in urgent need of medical attention and willfully fail to help Floyd, thereby deliberately acting indifferently to a significant risk of harm to Floyd,” the indictment read.
“This crime resulted in bodily harm and the death of George Floyd.”