Former Minneapolis officers indicted by federal grand jury

Derek Chauvin, 3 Others Now Face Federal Criminal Charges : Live Updates: Trial Over George Floyd's Killing

George Floyd case: 4 police officers indicted on federal civil rights charges

Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Chauvin, Thao and Kueng are charged with violating George Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force. All three face a charge of failing to provide medical care with "deliberate indifference" to Floyd's suffering.

In a separate two-count indictment, Chauvin was also charged with violating the civil rights of a boy, then 14, on September 4, 2017.

A three-count indictment names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao. They were allowed to remain free after Friday's federal court appearance.

A federal grand jury in Minnesota indicted the four - who include Derek Chauvin, the officer convicted in April of Floyd's murder.

In a confrontation captured on video, Chauvin pushed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, as he and the three other officers arrested the 46-year-old Black man. Floyd, who was in handcuffs, had been accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store. After appearing in court Friday morning over the new federal charges against them, all three were released on $25,000 bond. Court documents alleged that Chauvin hit the boy with his flashlight, grabbed him by the throat, and hit him again, the Star Tribune reported.

Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd - state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd's back and Lane held down Floyd's legs. The state lawyers also say Thao held a gathering crowd back and prevented them from intervening in the arrest.

Chauvin's lawyer, Eric Nelson, argued during his murder trial that Chauvin acted reasonably in the situation and Mr Floyd died because of underlying health issues and drug use. He also requested a new trial for Chauvin noting several issues.

The video of Floyd, who was Black, pleading for his life and crying for his late mother reverberated around the globe, as people who watched it took to the streets in the summer of 2020 to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Lane, Kueng, and Thao have pleaded not guilty to charges against them, including aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

The Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed the indictments and said the legal action "shows we have a Justice Department that deals with police criminality".

"For many years we have tried to get the federal government to make it clear that these crimes are not only state crimes but violate civil rights on a federal level when police engage in this kind of behavior", the statement said.

"What we couldn't get them to do in the case of Eric Garner, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and countless others, we are finally seeing them do today, and this is a significant development for those of us who have been engaged in the struggle and police reform movement", added Sharpton, who is host of MSNBC's "Politics Nation."

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.

Kueng and Lane joined the Minneapolis Police Department in December 2019. The investigation will examine whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing at the department, and it could result in major changes. The white former officer will be sentenced next month and faces up to 40 years in prison. All four officers were fired.

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