(The Center Square) – A federal grand jury has indicted four ex-Minneapolis police officers on federal civil rights charges related to the death of George Floyd.
The first indictment charges Derek Chauvin, 45; Tou Thao, 35; J. Alexander Kueng, 27; and Thomas Lane, 38. The three-count indictment alleges that all four defendants willfully deprived Floyd of his constitutional rights, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.
Count one of the indictment alleges that on May 25, 2020, Chauvin pressed his left knee on Floyd’s neck, and his right knee on Floyd’s back and arm, as Floyd lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting, and kept his knees on Floyd’s neck and body even after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive.
The indictment alleges Chauvin’s actions violated Floyd’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer and resulted in Floyd’s death.
Count two charges that Thao and Kueng willfully failed to intervene to stop Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, resulting in Floyd’s death.
Count Three of the indictment alleges that all four defendants saw Floyd lying on the ground in need of medical care and willfully failed to aid him. The indictment alleges that all four defendants willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which resulted in Floyd’s death.
A separate, two-count indictment also charges Chauvin with willfully depriving a 14-year old Minneapolis resident of the constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.
Count one of this indictment alleges that on Sept. 4, 2017, Chauvin, without legal justification, held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight. The indictment alleges that this use of a flashlight equates to a dangerous weapon and resulted in bodily injury.
Count Two of the indictment charges that Chauvin held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also resulting in bodily injury.
Both indictments charge violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242. 18 U.S.C. § 242, which states that it is a crime for a government official to willfully violate a person’s constitutional rights.
An indictment is merely a formal accusation of criminal conduct.
These charges are separate from the charges Minnesota has brought against these former officers, and the Department of Justice probe announced April 21. Specifically, these charges allege criminal offenses for violating the U.S. Constitution.
On April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s family settled a civil lawsuit with the city of Minneapolis for a record $27 million.
The federal criminal cases are being prosecuted by Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk of the District of Minnesota, Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel and Trial Attorney Tara Allison of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha Bates, LeeAnn Bell, Evan Gilead, Manda Sertich and Allen Slaughter of the District of Minnesota.