Justice Department Files Civil Rights Charges Against Cops in Floyd Death

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Photo by Samuel Wagner via Flickr

A  federal grand jury on Friday indicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and three other former officers on charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights last May during the arrest that caused his death.

Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who took part in apprehending Floyd will stand trial on two counts apiece. Former officer Thomas Lane will face a single charge in the case, reports the Washington Post.

The announcement came less than three weeks after Chauvin was found guilty on three murder and manslaughter counts in a state trial that focused on his use of force. The Grand jury’s indictment could offer another measure of accountability in a case that sparked nationwide protests over abusive policing, The Post said.

Kueng, Lane and Thao are facing state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Their trial is set to begin in late August. Kueng is Black, Lane is White and Thao is Asian American.

In a separate indictment, Chauvin also will face two counts of violating the rights of a 14-year-old boy during an arrest in September 2017, in which the officer is accused of holding the boy by the neck and hitting him repeatedly with a flashlight, causing injuries.

Justice Department officials said the decision to bring charges against the officers was the result of an intensive investigation from Civil Rights Division lawyers who have been on the ground in Minneapolis for months. Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department will conduct a sweeping “pattern or practice” investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis police have systemically engaged in unlawful conduct.

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