Feb 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

3 ex-officers convicted in federal civil rights trial over George Floyd's killing

A mural of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn.
A mural of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

A jury on Thursday convicted three former Minneapolis Police Department officers on federal civil rights charges in connection with George Floyd's murder, per the AP.

State of play: The jury, which deliberated for two days, found the officers guilty on all charges and agreed that their actions did result in Floyd's death.

The big picture: The three former officers were at the scene and did not intervene as Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, killing him.

  • A federal indictment issued in May alleged that Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane "willfully failed to aid" Floyd during and after former officer Chauvin kneeled on his neck.
  • By failing to intervene, prosecutors argued the officers violated Floyd's right to due process and to be free from "deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs" while in custody.
  • Thao and Kueng were also charged with violating his right to be free from unreasonable seizure.

Over the course of the monthlong trial, prosecutors argued that the officers defied their training and common sense by doing nothing as Floyd pleaded for help, clearly in medical distress.

  • Attorneys for the three defendants contended their clients deferred to Chauvin, the senior officer at the scene, and were dealing with a chaotic situation given the growing crowd and Floyd's resistance to get into a squad car.

Flashback: Chauvin, who was convicted of murder in a separate criminal trial last year, pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations in December and is awaiting sentencing.

What's next: A separate trial on criminal charges brought against the three former officers has been scheduled for June.

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