Federal charges against three police officers in the murder of Floyd

MINEAPOLIS – Three former officers who were out Derek Chauvin when he pressed his knee George Floyd Neck is being tried on federal charges alleging they violated black man’s civil rights. The prosecutor’s office said J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Tao stood as Shaven slowly killed Floyd in front of their eyes.

Lawyers said the shots were fired by Shavin, a senior officer.


The 46-year-old Floyd was killed on May 20, 2020. after Shaven put his knee on Floyd’s neck and pressed him to the street for 9 and a half minutes when he was face down and out of breath. Queng knelt on Floyd’s back while Lane held Floyd’s legs. The Tao kept the people around from interfering.



Queng, Lane and Tao widely accused of deliberately depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights acting in accordance with the “color of the law” or government. Shaven pleaded guilty to one article about Floyd’s civil rights violations and not being tried with his former colleagues.

Tao and Kueng are accused of intentionally violating Floyd’s right to be released from unjustified seizure without interfering to stop Shaven. The indictment states that they knew what Shaven was doing and that Floyd was in handcuffs, did not resist and eventually did not react. It is unclear why Lane, who held Floyd’s legs, is not mentioned in this count, but evidence shows that he twice asked if Floyd should be turned over.


Queng, Lane and Tao are accused of deliberately depriving Floyd of his liberty without due process of law, in particular depriving him of his right to be free from the officer’s intentional indifference to his medical needs. The indictment alleges that the three men saw that Floyd needed medical attention and deliberately failed to help him.

Both charges allege that the officers’ actions led to Floyd’s death.

Prosecutors presented weeks of testimony and evidence on the training of officers, claiming that they knew they were obliged to intervene to stop Shaven, and that they knew they were obliged to provide medical care. They claimed that Floyd’s condition was so severe that even passers-by without basic medical training could see that he needed help.

Lawyers claim that the training of the Minneapolis Police Department was insufficient. They also attacked police culture, they said, teaching officers to respect senior officers such as Shaven. Lane and Kueng, both newcomers, claimed to have given up on Shaven. Tao, who watched the passers-by, said he believed the officers behind him cared for Floyd.



Three officers are also charged in state court with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Public prosecutors must prove that officers helped Shaven commit murder or murder, while federal prosecutors must show that they violated Floyd’s rights, in fact, did not intervene or provide medical care.

Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor and now a professor of law at St. Thomas University, made the following distinction: the state case is about what the officers did, and the federal case is about what they didn’t do.

The beginning of the state process is scheduled for June 13.


To make federal allegations of police deaths, prosecutors must believe that the officer acted in accordance with the “color of the law” or state power and deliberately deprived someone of their constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unjustified seizures or use of unreasonable force. This is a high legal standard; An accident, bad judgment, or simple negligence on the part of an officer is not enough to sustain federal charges.


In essence, prosecutors need to prove that officers knew they were doing the wrong thing, but still did it.

Historically, federal charges have been filed after the state’s case failed, said Phil Turner, another former federal prosecutor. He cited the beating of Rodney King by police in 1991 as an example. After the Los Angeles officers were acquitted in state court, federal charges were filed, “because the state system failed, and it was clear to everyone that it was a miscarriage of justice,” Turner said. Two of the four officers were eventually convicted by a federal court.

Most high-profile fatal shootings by police in recent years have not led to federal charges, although activists have called for them. The exception is the case Michael Slager, a white South Carolina police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott in the back when an unarmed 50-year-old black man ran away from a 2015 stop.


The case of Slager’s murder in the state ended in a suspended jury and erroneous trial in 2016. A year later, he pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scott’s civil rights; prosecutors dropped charges of murdering the state. Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Over the past two decades, several penitentiaries have been convicted of violating the civil rights of prisoners who have died after being denied medical care – sometimes after an attack. The charge of deprivation of medical care is similar to counting all three former Minneapolis officers in Floyd’s murder.


Federal civil rights violations that lead to death are punishable by life imprisonment or even death, but such sentences are extremely rare. Federal sentencing recommendations are based on sophisticated formulas that show that officers will get much less if convicted.


Find full coverage of George Floyd’s murder in the AP at: /hub/death-of-george-floyd

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