A federal grand jury on Friday indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis policers on federal civil rights charges for the death of George Floyd.
Derek Chauvin, Tao Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lang all face three-count indictments alleging that, while acting under color of law, they willfully deprived Floyd of his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force by a police officer. This resulted in bodily injury and his death. Count one of the indictment involves Chauvin’s actions of keeping his knees on Floyd’s neck and body. Count two alleges that the actions of Thao and Kueng resulted in the bodily injury and death of Floyd through a willful failure to intervene to stop Chauvin’s actions. Count three charges that all four defendants willfully failed to aid Floyd when he needed medical care.
Chauvin is also charged in a separate indictment for violating the civil rights of a juvenile in 2017. This two-count indictment alleges that Chauvin willfully deprived a 14-year-old Minneapolis teenager of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer. Count one charges that Chauvin held the teenager by the throat and repeatedly struck him multiple times in the head with a flashlight without legal justification. Count two alleges that Chauvin caused bodily injury by pressing his knee against the teenager’s neck and upper back while he was cooperatively lying prone and handcuffed.
Keith Ellison, Democratic attorney general leading the state prosecution of the four defendants, commended the federal prosecutor’s decision to bring these charges, stating, “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.”
Ben Crump, leading the team of attorneys who represent George Floyd’s family, stated:
The constitutional violations that George suffered are clear, and were also detailed by our civil litigation team last July. Further, the additional indictment of Derek Chauvin shows a pattern and practice of behavior. 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.
These criminal charges are separate from the charges brought by the State of Minnesota against the defendants since these charges allege violations of the US Constitution, as opposed to state law.
Chauvin, who is presently in Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison, awaits sentencing set for June 25 for the state conviction of murder and manslaughter. However, a motion for a new trial has been filed. The state trial for the other three officers, who are free on bond, concerns charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter and is scheduled for August this year.