Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022|
Share this story
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Three former Minneapolis police officers were convicted Thursday of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, as a federal jury rejected their arguments that inexperience, improper training or the distraction of shouting bystanders excused them from failing to prevent Floyd’s killing.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care as the 46-year-old Black man was pinned under fellow Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee for 9 1/2 minutes while handcuffed, facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.
Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in the videotaped killing that sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the globe as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.
Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd called the verdicts “accountability,” but added: “There can never be justice because I can never get George back.”
And Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said he hoped the verdicts would change laws and policies to “protect people from these situations.” He also said the outcome “sends a message that says, if you murder or use excessive or deadly force, there’s consequences that follow.”
Lane shook his head and looked at his attorney as his verdict was read. Thao and Kueng showed no visible emotion. Their attorneys declined to comment immediately afterward. Charles Kovats, acting U.S. attorney for Minnesota, called the convictions a reminder that all sworn law enforcement officers have a 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.
Chauvin and Thao went to the scene to help rookies Kueng and Lane after they responded to a call that Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store. Floyd struggled with officers as they tried to put him in a police SUV.
During the monthlong federal trial, prosecutors sought to show that the officers violated their training, including when they failed to move Floyd or give him CPR. Prosecutors argued that Floyd’s condition was so serious that even bystanders without basic medical training could see he needed help, but that the officers “chose to do nothing.”
The defense said their training was inadequate. Kueng and Lane both said they deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene. Thao testified that he relied on the other officers to care for Floyd’s medical needs as his attention was elsewhere.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *