Chris Lange, FISM News
A Minnesota federal jury has found three ex-Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating the civil rights of George Floyd. The 12-person jury deliberated for nearly two full days before reaching the verdict.
The panel of eight women and four men found that Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane deprived Floyd, a black man, of his right to medical care when senior Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes during a May 25, 2020, arrest that resulted in Floyd’s death.
Thao and Lane were also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin while Floyd, 46, lay face-down on the street in handcuffs, repeatedly saying that he couldn’t breathe and pleading with Chauvin to stop. Floyd was arrested outside a convenience store on suspicion he attempted to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill but resisted as officers attempted to place him into a police car. The incident, captured on bystander video, sparked riots in major cities across the U.S. and other parts of the world.
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) February 25, 2022
The verdict marks a rare instance of police officers being held criminally responsible for another officer’s use of excessive force. Chauvin was convicted last year in a state court of Floyd’s murder.
Thao, Kueng and Lane remain free on bail pending their sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. Prosecutors have not yet said what sentence they will request, but the men may face several years in prison. Each of the former officers will face a separate trial in June stemming from the same incident on charges they aided and abetted murder and manslaughter.
“This is just accountability,” Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told reporters after the verdict was read, as reported by Reuters. “It could never be justice because I can never get my brother back.”
Brandon Williams, George Floyd’s nephew, also praised the jury’s decision.
“That’s historic for our country, because oftentimes officers kill Black and brown men and women, and we get little to no consequences,” he said. “A lot of times we don’t even get charges, let alone convictions.”
The verdict marks a second victory for the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in less than a week. A jury on Tuesday found three white men guilty of federal hate crimes for chasing down and shooting a young black man to death as he jogged in their suburban neighborhood.