Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane have been convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, which led to his death on May 25, 2020.
After a month-long trial, a federal jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, determined that all three officers deprived Floyd of medical care while he suffocated under ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of his murder last April.
Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes. Thao, who kept bystanders away, and Kueng, who knelt on Floyd’s back, were also found guilty of failing to intervene to prevent the murder.
Lane, who held Floyd’s legs, asked twice whether Floyd should be rolled on his side so that he could breathe. Still, the jury found that he, like Thao and Kueng, failed to act from the moment Floyd had become unresponsive to the arrival of paramedics.
“Today’s verdict recognizes that two police officers violated the Constitution by failing to intervene to stop another officer from killing George Floyd, and three officers violated the Constitution by failing to provide aid to Mr. Floyd in time to prevent his death,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.
“The Justice Department will continue to seek accountability for law enforcement officers whose actions, or failure to act, violate their constitutional duty to protect the civil rights of our citizens. George Floyd should be alive today.”
As his verdict was read, Lane shook his head and looked at his attorney, according to the Associated Press. Thao and Kueng, on the other hand, had no visible reaction.
No sentencing date has been set and the three ex-officers still face a separate trial in June on state charges.
“This is just accountability. It can never be justice because I can never get George back,” said Floyd’s brother, Philonise, as per NBC News. “And no matter how many times that I pray at night and I think about my brother 24/7, it still is going to be hard.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Charles Kovats said the convictions should remind officers of their duty to intervene.
“These officers had a moral responsibility, a legal obligation and a duty to intervene and by failing to do so they committed a crime,” Kovats said after the verdict. “This is a reminder that all sworn law enforcement officers, regardless of rank or seniority, individually and independently, have a duty to intervene and provide medical aid to those in their custody.”
Featured Image via Darnella Frazier (left) and NBC News (right)
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