Thu, 05 Aug 2021

Feds Charge Chauvin, 3 Other Police Officers in Floyd's Death

Voice of America
08 May 2021, 04:35 GMT+10

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of African American George Floyd on charges of civil rights violations.

A three-count indictment unsealed by federal prosecutors Friday alleges that Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine and half minutes while trying to arrest him, and the three other officers present on the scene "willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitutional rights ..."

The widely expected indictment comes on top of state criminal charges against the four officers in connection with Floyd's death on May 25, 2020. Floyd's death, captured on video, sparked outrage and an international protest.

Last month, a jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in Floyd's death. Alleging jury misconduct, Chauvin's defense team Wednesday requested a mistrial.

The three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's death - Tou Thao, 35, J. Alexander Kueng, 27, and Thomas Lane, 38 - face state charges of aiding and abetting. Their trial is set to start in August.

FILE - This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, June 3, 2020, shows, top row from left, Derek Chauvin, and J. Alexander Kueng, bottom row from left, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. FILE - This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, June 3, 2020, shows, top row from left, Derek Chauvin, and J. Alexander Kueng, bottom row from left, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

"The indictment alleges that Chauvin's actions violated Mr. Floyd's constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer and resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, Mr. Floyd," the Justice Department said in a statement.

In addition to charging Chauvin in Floyd's death, the federal grand jury indicted the former police officer in connection with the violent arrest of a 14-year-old in 2017.

The indictment alleges that Chauvin, "without legal justification, held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight."

Chauvin's use of a flashlight - described in court papers as "a dangerous weapon" - resulted in bodily injury to the teenager, according to the indictment.

The indictment also 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."

In a statement, the Justice Department said the charges against the four officers are separate from a department "pattern or practice" investigation of the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department that Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last month.

The sweeping inquiry will examine whether the Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a "pattern or practice" of unconstitutional policing, Garland said at the Justice Department. It will also examine the department's use of force against protesters and whether its treatment of people with behavioral disabilities violates federal law.

"Building trust between community and law enforcement will take time and effort by all of us, but we undertake this task with determination and urgency, knowing that change cannot wait," Garland said April 21.

A week later, Garland announced a federal investigation of policing practices in the southern U.S. city of Louisville, Kentucky, where officers last year shot and killed Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency technician, during a bungled raid on her home.

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