A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin and three former Minneapolis police officers on civil rights charges in connection with the death of George Floyd.
Indictment Friday is openChauvin, 45, is accused of violating Floyd’s rights by pressing his left knee to Floyd’s neck while lying face-down on the ground, handcuffed and irresistible. Chauvin held Floyd for more than nine minutes, while Floyd was panting, “I can’t breathe,” even after he lost consciousness.
Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, captured in a viral video, has led to widespread calls for police reform and months of protests over police brutality against black Americans.
Two other officers – c. Alexander King, 27, and Tu Thao, 35 – who saw Chauvin pin Floyd on the floor, charged with non-interference. The three, along with the fourth officer, Thomas Lane, 38, were charged with failing to provide medical assistance to Floyd.
“These accusations have encouraged us and we long for continued justice in this historic case that will affect black citizens and all Americans for generations to come,” said the attorneys for the Floyd family, Ben Cramp, Antonio Romanucci and L. Chris Stewart.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison described the federal prosecution of the four officers as “very appropriate.”
“It is the responsibility of the federal government to protect the civil rights of every American and pursue justice to the fullest extent permitted by federal law,” Ellison said in a statement.
The indictment is separate from the case in Minneapolis, where the jury is convicted Chauvin was charged with manslaughter and manslaughter in April. Each of the other officers, who are accused of aiding and abetting, will be prosecuted this summer.
The Ministry of Justice’s public prosecutor, which may add additional years to sentences former officers may face, charges them with violating a federal law that prohibits government officials from abusing their power.
Chauvin, Had requested New trial in Minneapolis case, citing misconduct of prosecution and jury, among other cases. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric J. Nelson, asked the judge to dismiss the sentence, saying the jury felt pressured and failed to follow instructions, although he did not go into detail.
The former officer faces 12 and a half years in prison under penalty guidelines for first-time offender. But prosecutors argue that aggravating factors require a longer prison sentence, which means Chauvin could face 30 years in prison.
Chauvin was also charged with kneeling on a 14-year-old boy
Chauvin is also He faces another federal indictment It stemmed from a 2017 encounter with a 14-year-old. Chauvin violated the teen’s rights by holding him without justification and placing his knee on the boy’s neck for 17 minutes, causing the teen to faint, according to court records.
The incident happened in September 2017, when Chauvin and another officer answered a call about a mother who said she had been assaulted by her son and daughter. Officers confronted the son in his bedroom and told the teen to stand on his stomach. After the teen refused, Chauvin grabbed him by the neck and hit his head several times with the flashlight, according to court records.
Later, Chauvin fixed his knee to the boy’s neck while lying face down on the ground, while the boy’s mother pleaded with the officers not to kill her son. Court records say Chauvin kept his knee on the boy’s neck even after the handcuffed teenager stopped resisting.
The boy, who needed stitches near his ear, said later that he “fainted for a minute” after Chauvin struck him with the flashlight.
The Floyd family’s attorneys said the additional charges against Chauvin showed a pattern of abusive behavior.
The White House stresses the need for reform
Speaking to reporters on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki said the indictments and Chauvin’s conviction underscored the need for change.
“While that was a moment of justice, of course, it was just the beginning,” Psaki said. “This is a reminder of the need to implement police reform through our legislative process and put those reforms into effect across the country.”
The Biden administration moved quickly to reestablish federal oversight of police departments through widespread investigations into patterns of abuse in the troubled agencies.
The Ministry of Justice is conducting One like this In Minneapolis Police Department operations, including the use of lethal force. The agency also has it Launched A similar investigation into whether the Louisville Metro Police Department was implicated in civil rights violations amid a national account following the death of Briona Taylor.
Contributing: Maureen Group, Joel Shannon and Tammy Abdullah