Three former Minneapolis police officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane — have been found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights. The federal jury, consisting of eight women and four men, concluded the former officers showed deliberate indifference to Floyd’s medical needs as ex-colleague Derek Chauvin knelt on him for over nine minutes on May 25, 2020.
Additionally, the jurors found Kueng and Thao guilty for failing to intervene in the situation. Lane did not face this charge, however, he did testify that he asked Chauvin to reposition Floyd twice while he was being restrained. Both requests were ignored.
The act of violating someone’s civil rights “is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any,” according to the Department of Justice. However, federal sentencing guidelines suggest that the former officers could receive a lesser sentence.
Former officer Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in prison last spring for murdering Floyd in 2020. He pled guilty to the federal civil rights charges related to Floyd’s death and the restraint of a teenager in a separate incident in December 2021.
The former officer now faces an additional 20 to 25 years in jail. However, prosecutors have requested he be sentenced to the maximum amount and this sentencing to be served concurrently with the sentence from his state trial.
This civil rights trial for the remaining three ex-cops began on Jan. 24, 2022. Floyd could have survived the incident had the former officers had intervened, argued prosecutors.
“It wasn’t a split-second use of force like a gunshot. Not 30 seconds, not a minute, several minutes – 569 seconds,” stated Assistant US Attorney Manda Sertich said during closing arguments of the former officers’ trial.
The former officers’ lawyers argued that their clients did not willfully fail to help Floyd. “Just because something has a tragic ending doesn’t mean it’s a crime,” Thao’s attorney said in closing arguments.
Attorneys for Lane and Kueng pointed out they had insufficient training and were subordinate to Chauvin. To which Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn Bell countered, “They didn’t have to intend to harm Mr. Floyd. They just needed to know they could take certain actions under the law and failed to do so.”
Written by Sheena Robertson
CNN: 3 former Minneapolis police officers found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights; by Julia Jones and Christina Maxouris
Kare 11: Ex-MPD officers guilty on all counts in federal civil rights trial; by Samantha Fischer
CBS: 3 Ex-Officers Found Guilty Of All Federal Charges In George Floyd’s Death
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