Three former Minneapolis police officers who were at the scene as Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck have been convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
They were convicted on Thursday, Feb. 24, after prosecutors argued that former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao knew Floyd was in medical danger beneath Chauvin’s knee but put their “discomfort in questioning a colleague” above their sworn duty to save a life.
After a month-long trial, a jury found Kueng, Lane and Thao guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights by failing to provide him medical aid. Kueng and Thao were also found guilty of failing to intervene with Chauvin. The jury found that the actions of all three men caused Floyd’s death.
Lane, who did not face the extra charge, testified that he asked Chauvin twice to reposition Floyd while restraining him but was denied both times.
The three men remain free on bond.
U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson, who presided over the case, did not order the officers to be taken into custody, citing a separate trial scheduled for June on state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Magnuson said he would announce sentencing in the civil rights case at a later date.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and other members of the legal team representing the Floyd family reacted to the former officers’ conviction, They said it’s “another important chapter in our journey for justice” for Floyd.
Crump said: “These officers tried to devise any excuse that could let them wash the blood from their hands, but following these verdicts, George’s blood will forever stain them.
“Today’s guilty verdicts should serve as the guiding example of why police departments across America should expand and prioritize instruction on an officer’s duty to intervene and recognize when a fellow officer is using excessive force.”
Floyd’s brother, Philonise, spoke to reporters afterward, with tears in his eyes.
He said: “I feel like I can breathe again. This is just accountability. It can never mean justice because I can never get George back.”
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