Three former Minneapolis cops found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights

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Three former Minneapolis cops found guilty of violating George Floyd's civil rights

Three former Minneapolis cops were found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights in a federal trial Thursday when they failed to intervene as Derek Chauvin fatally leaned on Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes.

Former Officers Tou Thao, who is of Hmong American; Thomas Lane, who is white; and J Kueng, who is black; were charged with depriving Floyd of his civil rights for not providing Floyd medical care during the May 25, 2020 fatal arrest.

Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane restrained his legs and Thao stopped concerned citizens from intervening as Floyd struggled to breathe and begged for his life.

The three former cops could face up to life in prison and will remain free on bond until their sentencing. No date has been set for that. 

Sixteen of the 18 people selected as jurors and alternates in the case appeared to be white, while the other two appeared to be Asian. Federal court officials declined to release the demographic of the panel.Judge Paul Magnuson insisted that religion, race and ethnicity had “absolutely nothing” to do with the high-profile case. 

Then Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is seen kneeling on George Floyd's neck.
Then Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is seen kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.
Facebook/Darnella Frazier/AFP vi
Body camera footage shows then officer J. Kueng arresting George Floyd.
Body camera footage shows then officer J. Kueng arresting George Floyd.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors worked to show the cops’ indifference to Floyd’s suffering, highlighting their failure to provide him CPR. Bystanders were begging the officers to check Floyd’s breathing, yet the trio who had training in how to respond in these situations did nothing, prosecutors said.

To win, prosecutors had to prove that Lane, Thao and Kueng willfully deprived Floyd of his constitutional rights, which the jurors ultimately agreed they did. 

The defense largely argued the trio received poor training from the Minneapolis PD and that Chauvin, who was the more senior responding officer, was leading the response.

Footage of the deadly encounter shot by bystander Darnella Frazier set off an international reckoning against racial injustice in law enforcement. Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death, was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison in June. The former cop is also awaiting a separate sentencing after pleading guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights in December. 

The three men found guilty on Thursday have yet to stand trial in state court on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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