Three Former Minneapolis Police Officers Found Guilty of Violating George Floyd’s Civil Rights

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Three former Minneapolis police officers have been found guilty of violating the civil rights of George Floyd. A federal jury delivered the verdicts. 

The three men—Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao—prevented Floyd from claiming his right to medical care, and then two of them did not step in when Derek Chauvin knelt on him.

The three former officers each faced federal civil rights charges for their demeanor on May 25, 2020, when they stood in company with Derek Chauvin restraining Floyd to the ground for about nine minutes while fending off the crowd from interfering. 

Lane and Kueng were the first officers to come on the scene after a phone call from the Cup Foods convenience store to 911, reporting the use of a fake $20 bill. During the confrontation and detention of Floyd with handcuffs, they were joined by Thao and Chauvin. To note, Chauvin is a senior among all the officers present. 

When the officers could not put Floyd inside their squad car, they held him to the ground for nine minutes, during which the crowd begged them to cease. Floyd was pronounced dead later. 

Chauvin was the one to place his knee on Floyd’s neck. In 2021, he was found guilty of murder in a state trial, and he pleaded guilty to a single charge of depriving Floyd of his civil rights in December. 

Alternately, this federal civil rights hearing—second of what might be three entire hearings over his killing—set into perspective their involvement in the fatal restraint: Lane restrained Floyd’s legs down, Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, and Thao prevented bystanders from stepping in. 

All three former officers were indicted for willfully and without due process violating Floyd’s right to liberty. Prosecutors say they knew he needed medical care, but none was offered. 

Thao and Kueng each were dealt with one more charge of willfully violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure when they did not step in to stop Chauvin. 

“They chose not to intervene; they chose not to aid George Floyd as the window to save Mr. Floyd’s life slammed shut,” said prosecutor Manda Sertich to jurors on the conclusion of the arguments Tuesday. “This is a crime.”

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