NATIONAL NEWS

3 ex-cops convicted of rights violations in Floyd killing

Feb 24, 2022, 3:20 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:39 pm

FILE: In this handout provided by Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, former Minneapolis police off...

FILE: In this handout provided by Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, former Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao pose for a mugshot after being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd. The death sparked riots and protests in cities throughout the country after Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (Photo by Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)

(Photo by Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Three former Minneapolis police officers were convicted Thursday of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane were charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street on May 25, 2020.

Thao and Lane were also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin.

The videotaped killing sparked protests in Minneapolis that spread around the globe as part of reckoning over racial injustice. Chauvin was convicted of murder last year in state court and pleaded guilty in December in the federal case.

Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.

Kueng and Lane both said they deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene. Thao testified that he relied on the other officers to care for Floyd’s medical needs as his attention was elsewhere.

Conviction of a federal civil rights violation that results in death is punishable by life in prison or even death, but such sentences are extremely rare. The former officers will remain free on bond pending sentencing.

During the monthlong trial, prosecutors sought to show that the officers violated their training, including when they failed to move Floyd or give him CPR. Prosecutors argued that Floyd’s condition was so serious that even bystanders without basic medical training could see he needed help.

The defense said their training was inadequate and that the officers deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene.

Prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments that the three officers “chose to do nothing” as Chauvin squeezed the life out of Floyd. Defense attorneys countered that the officers were too inexperienced, weren’t trained properly, and did not willfully violate Floyd’s rights.

A handful of protesters stood outside the courthouse Thursday morning holding large signs, including one mocking the officers that said, “If I only had a brain, a heart, the nerve.” It was decorated with pictures of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz.”

All 12 members of the jury — eight women and four men — appeared to be white, although the court has not released demographics such as race or age. A woman who appeared to be of Asian descent was excused Tuesday from the panel without explanation; a man who appeared to be of Asian descent remains as an alternate if one of the current 12 cannot continue.

Lane is white, Kueng is Black and Thao is Hmong American.

That was a sharp contrast to the jury that deliberated the state murder case against Chauvin. That jury was half white and half nonwhite.

The federal jury pool was selected from throughout the state, which includes areas much more conservative and less diverse than the Minneapolis area from which Chauvin’s jury was drawn. Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter, and later pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge.

Prosecutors sought to show during the month-long trial that the officers violated their training, including when they failed to roll Floyd onto his side or give him CPR. They argued that Floyd’s condition was so serious that even bystanders without basic medical training could see he needed help.

But the defense said the Minneapolis Police Department’s training was inadequate and that the officers deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene.

Chauvin and Thao went to the scene to help rookies Kueng and Lane after they responded to a call that Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store. Floyd struggled with officers as they tried to put him in a police SUV.

Thao watched bystanders and traffic as Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs.

The jurors were not sequestered — isolated from outside influences that could sway their opinion — which is sometimes done by having them stay in hotels during deliberations. They were allowed to watch videos from the scene and view other evidence as much as they wanted during deliberations.

Federal civil rights violations that result in death are punishable by up to life in prison or even death, but those sentences are extremely rare, and federal sentencing guidelines suggest the officers would get much less if convicted.

Lane, Kueng and Thao also face a separate trial in June on state charges alleging that they aided and abetted murder and manslaughter.

 

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Louisville emergency crews rescue the driver of semitruck that is dangling off the Clark Memorial B...

Associated Press

Truck driver pulled to safety after crash leaves vehicle dangling over bridge across Ohio River

The driver of a semi-truck was pulled to safety Friday by firefighters following a crash that left the vehicle dangling over a bridge across the Ohio River.

2 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a Get Out the Vot...

Mark Sherman

Supreme Court restores Trump to ballot, rejecting state attempts to ban him over Capitol attack

The Supreme Court has restored Donald Trump to 2024 presidential primary ballots, rejecting state attempts to hold the Republican former president accountable for the Capitol riot.

3 hours ago

FILE: A JetBlue Airlines plane takes off near Spirit Airlines planes at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywo...

Michelle Chapman, AP Business Writer

JetBlue, Spirit ending $3.8B deal to combine after court ruling blocked their merger

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are ending their proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked their merger.

4 hours ago

An Interstate 80 entrance is covered in snow during a powerful multiple day winter storm in the Sie...

Brooke Hess and Christopher Weber

More mountain snow expected even as powerful blizzard moves out of Northern California

A powerful blizzard that closed highways and ski resorts had mostly moved through the Sierra Nevada but forecasters warn that more snow was on the way for Northern California mountains.

5 hours ago

Tia Champion and her husband Tim help Angie Hodges (L) search for items in the remains of her home ...

Valerie Gonzalez

Texas struggles to contain wildfires as wind threatens to further their spread

Strong winds spread flames and led to a town's evacuation while airplanes dropped fire retardant in an attempt to stop the largest wildfire in Texas history.

5 hours ago

Pedestrians cross the street at the intersection of Washington and 5th in Hoboken, N.J., Thursday, ...

Jeff McMurray, The Associated Press

A New Jersey city that limited street parking hasn’t had a traffic death in 7 years

Street parking was already scarce in Hoboken, New Jersey, when the death of an elderly pedestrian spurred city leaders to remove even more spaces in a bid to end traffic fatalities.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

3 ex-cops convicted of rights violations in Floyd killing