State Watch

Grand jury indicts 4 ex-police officers in George Floyd’s death

A federal grand jury has indicted all four former Minneapolis police officers involved with the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, including Derek Chauvin, who was convicted on murder and manslaughter charges last month.

The multicount indictment from the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, accuses Chauvin along with Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights.

All of the men were charged with failing to administer first aid to Floyd as Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Additionally, Chauvin, Kueng and Thao are charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force.

Chauvin was the first white police officer in Minnesota to be convicted of murdering a Black person, and many in the country saw the high-profile trial as a referendum on policing in the U.S.

Multiple Minneapolis police officers, including the city’s police chief, testified against Chauvin during the trial — a rarity in police misconduct cases and a possible indication that his trial could move the needle on police reform. 

Floyd’s death was a catalyst for nationwide Black Lives Matter protests that dominated the country last summer.

The indictment announced Friday states that the offenses violated the U.S. Code known as the “color of law” statute, something that Democrats in Congress have sought to change through the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The important provision prohibits law enforcement officers willfully depriving “a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

Under the George Floyd bill, which would implement sweeping national reforms to policing, “willfully” would be changed to “knowingly or recklessly,” and the scope of the statute would also broaden.

The proposed change as well as the legislation’s slashing of qualified immunity are viewed as the largest roadblocks to Republican support for the bill.

Lane, Kueng and Thao are set to stand trial on state criminal charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in August. 

Tags Black Lives Matter Derek Chauvin George Floyd Indictment Minnesota police reform
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