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

On Thursday, former Minneapolis, MN officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao were found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Kueng and Thao were convicted of two counts. They were found guilty of failing to intervene on Floyd’s behalf as he pleaded for his life and repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe while pinned under former police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee for more than 9 minutes.

Lane, Kueng, and Thao were also convicted of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights by failing to render medical aid during the restraint.

All three men face a second trial in Floyd’s death on June 13 in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis, where they are accused of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Chauvin was found guilty of murder last April in state court and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. In December, he pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights but has yet to be sentenced.

Violating a person’s civil rights “is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any,” according to the Department of Justice. Federal sentencing guidelines suggest the officers could receive a lesser sentence.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the verdict “recognizes that two police officers violated the Constitution by failing to intervene to stop another officer from killing George Floyd, and three officers violated the Constitution by failing to provide aid to Mr. Floyd in time to prevent his death,” in a statement Thursday.
 
“George Floyd should be alive today,” Garland added.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face-down in the street. While being restrained, Floyd complained of breathing difficulties as well as the knee on his neck.

After several minutes, Floyd stopped speaking. The following day, after videos made by witnesses and security cameras became public, all four officers were fired. Floyd’s murder resulted in global protests against racism and police brutality that was the largest since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and gave way to widespread civil unrest.

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