Federal Grand Jury Indicts 4 Former Officers Involved in George Floyd’s Death

Federal Grand Jury Indicts 4 Former Officers Involved in George Floyd’s Death
This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows Derek Chauvin, from left, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Jack Phillips

A federal grand jury has indicted four former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death last year and said they violated Floyd’s constitutional rights when he was restrained face-down, according to indictments that were unsealed Friday.

Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao were named in the indictment (pdf), although Thao, Chauvin, and Keung were charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force. The four officers were charged with failure to provide Floyd with medical care.

Chauvin was convicted last month on charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death and is awaiting sentencing in a Minnesota maximum security prison.

The new federal charges come in addition to the state’s cases, which means that all four could face new trials in federal court. Thao, Keung, and Lane face trial on the state charges in August and they are free on bond.

The grand jury also indicted Chauvin in a separate case stemming from a 2017 incident where he allegedly pinned a 14-year-old boy during an arrest. Court documents alleged that Chauvin hit the boy with his flashlight, grabbed him by the throat, and hit him again, the Star Tribune reported.

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after Chauvin pinned him to the ground before it was uploaded to social media, where it went viral in late May 2020, sparking nationwide Black Lives Matter protests and riots—as well as left-wing calls to “defund the police.”

Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd, and state prosecutors have asserted that Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held down Floyd’s legs. State prosecutors also said that Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during over nine minutes of restraint.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, argued during his murder trial that Chauvin acted reasonably in the situation and that Floyd died because of underlying health issues and drug use. He has filed a request for a new trial, citing many issues including the judge’s refusal to move the trial due to publicity.

A four-page document filed by Nelson earlier this week contends that Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial were violated. He cited alleged errors made by the prosecution and judge—as well as juror misconduct, witness intimidation, and the impact of publicity.

A juror in Chauvin’s trial, Brandon Mitchell, said he partook in Black Lives Matter protests last year.

“I’d never been to D.C.,” he told The Associated Press of attending the event. “The opportunity to go to D.C., the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.”

At the event, speakers included Floyd’s family members and family members for Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner.

Mitchell said that he responded “no” to questions sent to prospective jurors that pertained to protests. The first question asked: “Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?” And the second question asked: “Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone close to you, participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality?”

The Epoch Times has contacted Nelson for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5
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