Mon | Jun 14, 2021

Four ex-cops indicted on US civil rights charges in George Floyd death

Published:Friday | May 7, 2021 | 9:42 AM
In this May 25, 2020 file image from surveillance video, Minneapolis police officers from left, Tou Thao, Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane are seen attempting to take George Floyd into custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted the four former Minneapolis cops involved in George Floyd's arrest and death, accusing them of willfully violating the black man's constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air.

A three-count indictment unsealed Friday names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao.

Specifically, Chauvin is charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer.

Thao and Kueng are also charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure, alleging they did not intervene to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd's neck.

All four officers are charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care.

Floyd's arrest and death, which a bystander captured on cell phone video, sparked protests nationwide and widespread calls for an end to police brutality and racial inequities.

Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, stemming from the arrest and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Lane, Thao and Kueng made their initial court appearances Friday via videoconference in US District Court in Minneapolis. Chauvin was not part of the court appearance.

Chauvin was convicted last month on state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death and is in Minnesota's only maximum-security prison as he awaits sentencing.

The other three former cops face a state trial in August, and they are free on bond.

They were allowed to remain free after Friday's federal court appearance.

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, even as Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn't breathe.

Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd — state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd's back and Lane held down Floyd's legs.

State prosecutors say Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.