Federal Grand Jury Charges 4 Former Minneapolis Police Officers In George Floyd Death

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Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were also charged with their failure to intervene in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, in accordance with the indictment. Chauvin, Thao, Kueng and the fourth officer, Thomas Lane, are all accused of failing to provide medical assistance to Floyd.

According to the indictment, “the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground, clearly in need of medical attention, and willfully failed to assist Floyd, thus acting with willful indifference in the face of substantial risk of harm to him. Floyd “.

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Chauvin was also indicted in a separate indictment relating to an incident in which he allegedly used unreasonable force on a 14-year-old Minneapolis in September 2017, the Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.

The first count in this indictment states that Chauvin “held the teenager by the throat and hit him several times on the head with a flashlight,” according to the DOJ statement. A second count says he “held his knee to the teenager’s neck and upper back even after the teenager was lying on his stomach, handcuffed and without resistance, also resulting in bodily injury.”

CNN has reached out to lawyers for the four officers for comment. Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson declined to comment, as did Thomas Plunkett, an attorney representing Kueng. CNN has also reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department and the City Police Union for their comment.

Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 sparked protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.

A viewer video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as the 46-year-old man, handcuffed and lying on his stomach in the street, gasped for breath, telling police, “I can’t not breathe. “
Trial juror Derek Chauvin said 'the evidence was overwhelming' against ex-policeman
Thao, Kueng and Lane were at the scene with Chauvin. They also face charges from the state, including aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter. They have pleaded not guilty and their joint trial is scheduled to take place this summer.

The three former officers appeared with their attorneys in federal court on Friday via video conference, and all three were released on $ 25,000 bail. Chauvin, who awaits his conviction on state convictions in June, remains in detention.

The new federal charges are separate from the civilian investigation into Minneapolis policing practices announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland last month, the Justice Department said on Friday.

Lawyers representing Floyd’s family said in a statement they were “encouraged by these accusations and anxious to see continued justice in this historic case that will affect black citizens and all Americans for generations to come.”

The statement by civil rights attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and L. Chris Stewart said that “Derek Chauvin’s additional indictment shows a pattern and practice of behavior.”

Stewart told CNN’s Pamela Brown in an interview on Friday that they spoke with Garland after the charges and shared how the family reacted.

“It was emotional,” said Stewart. “They’re thrilled about it. We actually spoke to Attorney General Garland today, and I haven’t heard such passion or sympathy and intention from an Attorney General in a very long time. The first thing he started with was , he said no one is above the law and that meant a lot. “

Stewart added, “He just expressed his sympathy, and you could hear the intention in his voice and the determination to seek family justice. It meant a lot. We were very honored that he did this.”

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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has led the state’s prosecution of Chauvin, called the charges “entirely appropriate,” saying the federal government has “a responsibility to protect the civil rights of every American. and to pursue justice to the fullest extent of federal law. “

News of the indictments was celebrated by civil rights leaders and activists like Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, who said in a statement that the charges show that “we have a Justice Department that deals with police crime and does not excuse it “.

“For many years we have tried to get the federal government to make it clear that these crimes are not just state crimes, but violate civil rights at the federal level when the police engage in this type of behavior,” indicates the press release. “What we couldn’t get them to do in the case of Eric Garner, Michael Brown to Ferguson and countless others we are finally seeing them do today and it’s a significant development for those of between us who have been engaged in the struggle. and the police reform movement. “

Asked about the indictments on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said they and Chauvin’s verdict were reminders that “there is still a lot to be done.”

“While this is a moment of righteousness, certainly it is only the beginning,” Psaki said. “And it’s a reminder of the need to bring in police reform through our legislative process and to put those reforms in place across the country.”

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Christina Carrega, Dan Berman, Josh Campbell, Anna-Maja Rappard, Dave Alsup, Paul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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