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Ex-US Police Officers Found Guilty of George Floyd’s Civil Rights Violations

A jury on Thursday found three former Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating the civil rights of George Floyd, the African-American man whose murder sparked nationwide protests in May 2020.

Tou Thao, 36, J. Alexander Kueng, 28, and Thomas Lane, 38, were convicted after a month-long federal lawsuit in Minneapolis’ twin city of Saint Paul, for showing “deliberate indifference” to Floyd’s medical needs. .

Thao and Kueng were also found guilty of failing to intervene to stop the use of “unreasonable force” against Floyd by a fourth officer, Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, who is white and was the highest ranking officer on the scene, knelt on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for nearly 10 minutes until he passed out and died.

He was convicted of murder last year and is in prison for 22 years.

Floyd’s death, filmed by a bystander in a video that went viral, sparked months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Brandon Williams, Floyd’s cousin, spoke to reporters after the verdict, calling it a “small win”.

“A lot of times cops kill black and brown men and women and we get little to no consequences,” Williams said. “A lot of times we don’t even get a charge, let alone a conviction.”

The all-white jury of eight women and four men deliberated for 13 hours for two days before the three former officers were found guilty of all charges against them.

The maximum sentence is life, but the three are not expected to receive such a long sentence.

Thao and Kueng didn’t react as the verdicts were read, but Lane dropped something on the table in front of him and shook his head.

Lane was not facing the second charge of failure to act. Video of the arrest shows him on two occasions proposing to roll Floyd onto his side.

– ‘Floyd should be alive today’ –

US Attorney General Merrick Garland welcomed the verdict in the high-profile case, saying, “George Floyd should be alive today.”

“Today’s verdict recognizes that two police officers have violated the Constitution by failing to intervene to stop another officer from killing George Floyd, and three officers have violated the Constitution by failing to assist Mr Floyd in time to his death. prevent,” Garland said in a statement. a statement.

“The Justice Department will continue to seek accountability for law enforcement officers whose actions, or negligence, violate their constitutional duty to protect the civil rights of our The Vanir-exoduss.”

Philonise Floyd, Floyd’s brother, described it as a “good day” for the family, but said “this is just responsibility.”

“It can never be justice because I can never get George back,” he said.

Thao, Kueng, Lane and Chauvin attempted to arrest 46-year-old Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.

After Floyd struggled while he was placed in a police car, the officers wrestled him to the ground and placed him face down on the sidewalk.

While Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, Kueng lay on his back and Lane held onto his legs. Thao stopped bystanders begging Chauvin to get rid of the visibly distressed Floyd.

– ‘Couldn’t breathe’ –

In her closing statement before the jury, prosecutor Manda Sertich said all three officers “knew George Floyd couldn’t breathe, had no heartbeat, and was dying.”

“Make no mistake, this is a crime,” Sertich said.

Lawyers for Kueng and Lane stressed that the two officers had only been on duty for a few days and deferred to Chauvin, a nearly 20-year-old veteran and the senior officer at the scene.

Lane’s lawyer also noted that he asked Kueng to check Floyd’s pulse and administer CPR after an ambulance arrived.

Thao, who is Hmong American, Kueng, who is black, and Lane, who is white, are still facing charges from the state of Minnesota over Floyd’s death in a trial scheduled for June 13.

But as a sign of the importance of the case, federal prosecutors also accused the agents of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights.

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