Federal Grand Jury Indicts 4 Ex-Cops in George Floyd Arrest and Death

Demonstrators during trial of police officer charged with killing George Floyd.
Demonstrators during state criminal trial of ex-cop Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the killing of George Floyd.Getty

The federal indictment charges the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd with violating his constitutional rights.

A federal grand jury has indicted four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest and death of Black resident George Floyd, prosecutors announced Friday.

The indictment charges the ex-cops with willfully violating Floyd's constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and crying out he couldn't breathe.

The three-count indictment unsealed names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao. 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 try to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck.

All four are charged with failing to provide Floyd with medical care.

The four men "saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd." Floyd died as a result, the indictment said.

“The federal government has a responsibility to protect the civil rights of every American and to pursue justice to the fullest extent of federal law,” Minneapolis Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. “Federal prosecution for the violation of George Floyd’s civil rights is entirely appropriate.”

Chauvin was convicted last month on state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He is being held in a Minnesota maximum-security prison awaiting sentencing.

Chauvin was also charged with deprivation of civil rights under color of law for an incident involving a 14-year-old boy, whom Chauvin allegedly struck in the head with a flashlight and pinned to the ground with a knee on his neck and back during a September 2017 arrest. No state charges were filed in that case and the other officers were not involved in that incident, CBS News reported.

The other three former officers face a state trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting in Floyd's death. They remain free on bond pending their trial. After appearing Friday in federal court, the fired officers were allowed to remain free.

Attorneys for the men have not publicly commented on the federal charges.

Friday's federal indictments are the latest in a series of actions undertaken by the Justice Department to address allegations of police abuse and civil rights violations around the country.

Late last month, federal civil rights charges were filed against three white suspects in the killing of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery. A far-ranging investigation of Louisville police departments is also underway in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

The deaths of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery are the highest-profile killings of Black people that spurred massive protests in the U.S and beyond.

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