4 former Minneapolis police officers face federal civil rights charges in killing of George Floyd

By: - May 7, 2021 10:07 am

Clockwise from top left: Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao

A federal grand jury has indicted four former Minneapolis police officers of using their official authority to deprive George Floyd of his civil rights.

An indictment unsealed on Friday charges the four officers — Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — of deprivation of rights under the color of law.

Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd last month and the three other officers are scheduled to stand trial on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in August.

Chauvin also faces an additional count for a 2017 incident, in which he pinned his knee on a teenager’s neck and upper back even after the 14-year-old was handcuffed and in a prone position, causing injury, according to the indictment.

“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,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in a statement. “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 U.S. Department of Justice is separately conducting a pattern-and-practice investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is also investigating the department for discriminatory practices.

A Hennepin County judge will sentence Chauvin next month after a jury found him guilty of three crimes: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin has appealed his conviction citing juror misconduct after one juror was seen in social media posts participating in a racial justice rally and later indicating he had participated in no such event on his juror questionnaire.

The city of Minneapolis settled a civil lawsuit brought by Floyd’s family for a record-setting $27 million.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.