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4 former officers indicted on federal charges in George Floyd's killing

They're accused of violating George Floyd's civil rights.
Lane kueng thao chauvin

A federal grand jury has indicted the four former police officers involved in George Floyd's death on charges they violated his civil rights.

These new federal charges against Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are separate from the criminal charges against them that are being prosecuted by the State of Minnesota. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office unsealed the three-count indictment Friday morning. It accuses the former officers of violating Floyd's constitutional rights as he was restrained outside of Cup Foods in south Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. 

Chauvin, Thao and Kueng are each charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force. The indictment says that when Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck and back, even after he became unresponsive, it violated his rights. 

The indictment also alleges Thao and Kueng "willfully failed to intervene" to stop Chauvin's use of unreasonable force. And it alleges all four officers failed to give Floyd medical care, and by doing so willfully deprived Floyd of his constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law. 

“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. Federal prosecution for the violation of George Floyd’s civil rights is entirely appropriate, particularly now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder under Minnesota law for the death of George Floyd," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. His office prosecuted the state's case against Chauvin and is prosecuting the cases against the other officers. 

MPR News says officers made their initial court appearances Friday morning on these new federal charges. 

Chauvin charged in teen's 2017 arrest

Chauvin was also charged in a second, two-count indictment that stems from an arrest and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office says. He's charged with willfully depriving the boy of the constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer. 

Count one of that indictment alleges on Sept. 4, 2017, Chauvin held the teenager by the throat and struck him multiple times in the head with a flashlight, a dangerous weapon. The second count alleges Chauvin held his knee on the boy's neck and upper back even after he was lying prone, handcuffed and unresisting, the U.S. Attorney's Office states.

It was reported after Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's killing that the U.S. Department of Justice had plans to indict him on federal charges, but was waiting as to not disrupt the state's case, the Star Tribune reported.

“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. Federal prosecution for the violation of George Floyd’s civil rights is entirely appropriate, particularly now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder under Minnesota law for the death of George Floyd. The State is planning to present our case against the other three defendants to another jury in Hennepin County later this summer," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. His office prosecuted Chauvin and is prosecuting the other officers, who go to trial in August.

The charges announced Friday are separate from the Justice Department's investigation into the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department.

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