A federal grand jury formally accused four former Minneapolis police officers in connection with the death of George Floyd, alleging the officers violated Floyd’s constitutional rights, according to court documents Minnesota court.
The indictment says Derek Chauvin who was convicted last month on state murder charges in the Black man’s death, deprived Floyd of the right to be free from “unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.”
Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were also charged in connection with their failure to intervene in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force. The trio and the fourth officer, Thomas Lane, all also face a charge for failing to give Floyd medical aid.
According to the indictment, “the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd.”
Chauvin also was charged in a separate indictment related to an incident in which he allegedly used unreasonable force on a Minneapolis 14-year-old in September 2017, the Justice Department said in a statement Friday.
The first count of that indictment says Chauvin “held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight,” per the DOJ statement. A second count says he “held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also resulting in bodily injury.”
Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, sparked protests nationwide against police brutality and racial injustice.
A bystander video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while the 46-year-old, handcuffed and lying prone in the street, gasped for air, telling the officers, “I can’t breathe.”
Thao, Kueng and Lane were on the scene with Chauvin. They also face state charges, including aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They have pleaded not guilty, and their joint trial is expected to be held this summer.
The three officers except Chauvin were released on $25,000 bond. Chauvin remains in custody, while awaiting sentencing on state convictions in June.