Ian Patrick, FISM News
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter as well as third- and second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, has been indicted again by a federal grand jury. Chauvin along with the three other police officers involved in Floyd’s death – Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane – have all been indicted with federal civil rights charges.
The announcement of these charges was made in a Justice Department news release.
The three-count indictment alleges that all four defendants, while acting under color of law, willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitutional rights, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.
The first count charges Chauvin with willfully depriving Floyd of his right “to be free from an unreasonable seizure” by keeping Floyd restrained even after he became unresponsive, which resulted in “bodily injury” and later death.
The second count charges Thao and Kueng with depriving Floyd of the same right by not intervening even though they were aware of Chauvin’s actions.
The final count charges all four officers with depriving Floyd of his right to “not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes an arrestee’s right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.” This allegation states that the officers saw that Floyd was “in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid” him. The charge posits that this is proof of their “deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd.”
The federal grand jury also indicted Chauvin with two more civil rights charges in a separate document for an incident that occurred in 2017. The first charge alleges that Chauvin deprived a 14-year old the right to be free from an unreasonable seizure after holding the juvenile by the neck and striking him or her multiple times with a flashlight. The second count charges Chauvin with depriving the same juvenile of that same right by using the same knee restraint used on Floyd “after Juvenile I was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting.”
The Justice Department states that both of these indictments deal specifically with officers misusing their power while acting as agents of the law.
Both indictments charge violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242. 18 U.S.C. § 242 states that it is a crime for an official acting under color of law to willfully violate a person’s constitutional rights. If government employees, like police officers, use or misuse the power provided to them by their position, they are acting “under color of law.”