Feds ‘Had Secret Backup Plan to Arrest Derek Chauvin in Court for Police Brutality If He Was Cleared
Rachel Sharp, Daily Mail, April 28, 2021
Secret Department of Justice plans to arrest Derek Chauvin in court had he been cleared of murdering George Floyd have been revealed.
Multiple sources told the Star Tribune federal prosecutors were ready to move in and charge the white ex-cop on federal counts moments after a not guilty verdict on charges of second and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, or in the event of a mistrial.
Department of Justice prosecutors now also plan to bring civil rights violations charges – akin to hate crimes – of police brutality against Chauvin and the three other cops on duty with him when Floyd was killed in May 2020.
Their secret plot saw DOJ investigators collaborate with their state counterparts at Minnesota US Attorney’s Office to arrange to charge Chauvin by a process called criminal complaint which does not require a grand jury and would have sped up the process of bringing fresh charges against the former policeman amid fears a not guilty verdict would have prompted fresh riots.
Ultimately, the backup plan did not have to be used, after Chauvin was found guilty of all three counts he faced.
He was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and taken to Minnesota’s maximum security prison Oak Park Heights.
He will be sentenced on June 25 after the court pushed it back from its initial date of June 16. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
The DOJ is now planning to indict him and the three other cops involved in Floyd’s death on civil rights charges, a source told the Tribune.
The federal investigation into Floyd’s death is separate to the state’s case which led to Chauvin’s trial and conviction last week.
It has been running in parallel with federal authorities presenting evidence before a grand jury of 23 citizens who will decide if there is probable cause to bring charges against the disgraced officers.
The three other cops – J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – face trial together on August 23 on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. They deny those allegations, and were fired from their jobs at Minneapolis PD in the wake of Floyd’s death.
The Minnesota AG’s Office wants to also add a charge of aiding and abetting third-degree murder to each of their cases.
Now, the DOJ wants to indict Chauvin on federal civil rights violations over both Floyd’s death and a 2017 incident where he knelt on a black 14-year-old boy’s neck for nearly 17 minutes.
Kueng, Lane and Thao would only be indicted over Floyd’s death.
Chauvin has never faced any charges over the 2017 incident, details of which surfaced last year as state prosecutors asked a judge to allow them to use the case as evidence of the former cop’s use of force in his trial.
The judge banned prosecutors from telling jurors about the 2017 incident.
Federal prosecutors had witnesses testify before a grand jury two months ago regarding the 2017 incident.
It is not clear when the federal charges will be brought with a source saying only that the grand jury indictments are expected soon, sending the four ex-cops to another criminal trial in federal court.
It will be prosecuted by DOJ officials in Minnesota and Washington DC.
It is possible the DOJ will wait until after the state trials of the three other cops so as to avoid risking disruption to the state’s case with further publicity.