Posted on May 11, 2021

Derek Chauvin, 3 Other Cops Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges in George Floyd Death

Nelson Oliveira, New York Daily News, May 7, 2021

A federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin and the other three former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s fatal arrest last spring, charging them with violating the Black man’s civil rights, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

The potentially precedent-setting indictment accuses Chauvin of violating Floyd’s “constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer” when the ex-cop knelt on the 46-year-old’s neck and back for more than nine minutes and stayed there “even after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive.”

Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, meanwhile, “willfully failed to intervene” to stop their colleague’s use of unreasonable force in the brutal police encounter that was captured in a graphic bystander video and sparked nationwide outrage, the indictment alleges. The three cops and former officer Thomas Lane, all of whom were fired a day after the May 25 killing, are also charged with willfully failing to provide life-saving efforts as Floyd lay on the ground “in clear need of medical care,” according to the document.


The Justice Department had been working on the case against the officers since Floyd’s death, but it reportedly delayed bringing the charges to a grand jury to avoid interfering with Chauvin’s murder trial. The white ex-cop was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and is set to be sentenced in June.


Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and two other lawyers representing Floyd’s family said they were “encouraged” by the charges and eager to see the impact the case could have on “Black citizens and all Americans for generations to come.”

“Today’s federal indictment for criminal civil rights violations associated with the murder of George Floyd reinforces the strength and wisdom of the United States Constitution,” they said in a statement. “The Constitution claims to be committed to life, liberty and justice, and we are seeing this realized in the justice George Floyd continues to receive. This comes after hundreds of years of American history in which Black Americans unfortunately did not receive equal justice.”


The charges announced Friday are separate from a newly launched federal probe examining a possible “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional or unlawful policing in the city of Minneapolis. Attorney General Merrick Garland launched the investigation a day after Chauvin’s murder trial ended last month, saying the verdict “does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis.”