NATIONAL NEWS

4 Ex-Cops Indicted On US Civil Rights Charges In Floyd Death

May 7, 2021, 8:29 AM
FILE (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/Minnesota Department of Corrections/Getty Images)...
FILE (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/Minnesota Department of Corrections/Getty Images)
(Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/Minnesota Department of Corrections/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death, accusing them of willfully violating the Black man’s constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air.

A three-count indictment unsealed Friday names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao.

Specifically, Chauvin is charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer. Thao and Kueng are also charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure, alleging they did not intervene to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. All four officers are charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care.

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.

Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, stemming from the arrest and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Lane, Thao and Kueng made their initial court appearances Friday via videoconference in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Chauvin was not part of the court appearance.

Chauvin was convicted last month on state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death and is in Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison as he awaits sentencing. The other three former officers face a state trial in August, and they are free on bond. They 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.

To bring federal charges in deaths involving police, prosecutors must believe that an officer acted under the “color of law,” or government authority, and willfully deprived someone of their constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable seizures or the use of unreasonable force. That’s a high legal standard; an accident, bad judgment or simple negligence on the officer’s part isn’t enough to support federal charges.

Roy Austin, who prosecuted such cases as a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, said prosecutors have to prove that the officers knew what they were doing was wrong in that moment but did it anyway.

Conviction on a federal civil rights charge is punishable by up to life in prison or even the death penalty, but those stiff sentences are extremely rare and federal sentencing guidelines rely on complicated formulas that indicate the officers would get much less if convicted.

In Chauvin’s case, if the federal court uses second-degree murder as his underlying offense, he could face anywhere from 14 years to slightly more than 24 years, depending on whether he takes responsibility, said Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor and professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Osler said the guidelines clearly state that any federal sentence would be served at the same time as a state sentence — the sentences wouldn’t stack. Chauvin is due to be sentenced on the state charges June 25.

___

Balsamo reported from Washington.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

...
KPTV Staff

Police: Man armed with pitchfork threatens people at Portland Water Bureau

A man broke into the Portland Water Bureau building and threatened people with a pitchfork on Friday.
24 hours ago
Houston assistant police chief Chandra Hatcher briefs the media on the double shooting. (Credit: 	H...
Michelle Watson and Holly Yan, CNN

A drive-by shooting leaves a 5-year-old dead and an 8-year-old injured in Houston

Houston police are asking for the public's help in finding whoever opened fire on a car overnight, killing a 5-year-old child and injuring an 8-year-old.
24 hours ago
FILE PHOTO...
Associated Press

Video shows Akron police kill Black man in hail of gunfire

Authorities say a Black man was unarmed when Akron police chased him on foot and killed him in a hail of gunfire, but officers believed he had shot at them earlier from a vehicle and feared he was preparing to fire again.
24 hours ago
FILE PHOTO...
Michelle Watson and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

2 dead and 4 injured, including 3 officers, in Texas shooting, police say

A gunman in Texas killed two people and three police officers person Saturday before fatally shooting himself.
24 hours ago
FILE PHOTO...
Associated Press

31 bodies, some decomposing, found at Indiana funeral home

Police are investigating after more than 30 bodies, some decomposing, were found inside a southern Indiana funeral home.
24 hours ago
Representative Tricia Derges (Credit: Missouri House of Representatives)...
Associated Press

Missouri lawmaker resigns from House after fraud conviction for selling Covid treatments

A Missouri GOP legislator has resigned after being convicted of falsely claiming she was giving patients stem cell treatments for COVID-19.
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
4 Ex-Cops Indicted On US Civil Rights Charges In Floyd Death