A federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd on charges of civil rights violations.
The four officers were charged under a federal law that makes it a crime for a law enforcement officer to “willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
A three-count indictment unsealed Friday accuses Chauvin of robbing Floyd of the right to be free from the “use of unreasonable force by a police officer” by pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9½ minutes as Floyd “lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting,” causing Floyd’s death.
Two of Chauvin’s fellow officers on the scene – Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng – are accused of failing to stop Chauvin from using unreasonable force against Floyd. The third, Thomas Lane, faces accusations of “willfully” failing to help Floyd as he lay on the ground “in clear need of medical care,” as do the other three.
In a statement, the Floyd family’s legal team said, “We are encouraged by these charges and eager to see continued justice in this historic case that will impact Black citizens and all Americans for generations to come.”
A separate, three-count indictment, also unsealed Friday, accuses Chauvin of civil rights violations in connection with the violent arrest of a 14-year-old three years before Floyd’s death.
In the 2017 incident, Chauvin, “without legal justification, held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight,” resulting in injury to the teen, according to the indictment.
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,” the indictment says.