Chauvin, three other officers face new charges for George Floyd death

Carrie Guzman
May 7, 2021

The other officers, who were charged in with aiding and abetting Floyd's murder, are scheduled to face trial in state court August.

A US FEDERAL grand jury has indicted the four former police officers involved in George Floyd's arrest and death, accusing them of violating his constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down. The four officers were charged with failure to provide Floyd with medical care.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney in state court, declined to comment. Two of the men, Kueng and Thao, are accused of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin.

Floyd, 46, died May 25, 2020 as the officers took him into custody for reportedly passing a bogus $20 bill.

Floyd's May 25 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. They were allowed to remain free after Friday's federal appearance.

Kueng and Lane helped restrain him - state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd's back and Lane held down his legs.

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.

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 also requested a new trial for Chauvin noting several issues.

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Fatal shootings by the police department had attracted national attention before in recent years, including separate cases in which officers faced criminal charges filed related to the deaths of Justine Damond and Philando Castile.

On or about September 4, 20t7, in the State and District of Minnesota, the defendant, DEREK MICHAEL CHAUVIN, while acting under color of law, willfully deprived Juvenile I of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free from an unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.

Such federal charges are rare, in part because it is hard to meet the high legal bar they require.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has prioritized cracking down on police misconduct since being confirmed as the nation's top law enforcement official in March, launching investigations into policing practices in Minneapolis and Louisville, Kentucky.

The indictment in Mr Floyd's death says Thao and Kueng were aware Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd's neck, even after he became unresponsive, and "wilfully failed to intervene to stop defendant Chauvin's use of unreasonable force". 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". They wrestled him to the ground and pinned him under their weight.

The first count of that indictment says Chauvin "held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight", per the DOJ statement. "It is a reminder of the need to put police reform in place".

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Thao, Kueng, and Lane appeared with their lawyers in federal court in Minneapolis on Friday by video. The white former officer will be sentenced next month and faces up to 40 years in prison.

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