A federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death, accused of violating Floyd's constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air, according to the indictments which were unsealed Friday.
"The three-count indictment alleges that all four defendants, while acting under color of law, willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitutional rights," the Department of Justice said in a release. "Specifically, Count One of the indictment alleges that on May 25, 2020, Chauvin held his left knee across Mr. Floyd’s neck, and his right knee on Floyd’s back and arm, as George Floyd lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting, and kept his knees on Mr. Floyd’s neck and body even after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive. The indictment alleges that Chauvin’s actions violated Mr. Floyd’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer and resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, Mr. Floyd."
Another count names Thao and Kueng, alleging that they "willfully failed to intervene to stop Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, resulting in bodily injury to, and the death of, Mr. Floyd."
All four officers were charged with failing to provide Floyd with medical care.
"The indictment alleges that by doing so, all four defendants willfully deprived Mr. Floyd of his constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes an arrestee’s right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs," the DOJ said. "The indictment alleges that this offense resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, Mr. Floyd."
Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, stemming from the arrest and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Kueng appeared via videoconference in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Chauvin was not part of the court appearance.
Chauvin was convicted in the murder and manslaughter of Floyd last month. A jury found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty of second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd in May 2020. Chauvin is currently Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison as he awaits sentencing, the other officers are free on bond.
Floyd, 46, died May 25 after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, even as Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd — state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held down Floyd’s legs. State prosecutors say Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, had no comment on the federal charges Friday. Last week, Nelson filed a motion in Minnesota’s Hennepin County court on Tuesday asking for a new trial for his client, alleging Chauvin’s right to due process was violated on a number of counts that warrant a new trial
Messages left with attorneys for two of the other officers were not immediately returned, and an attorney for the fourth officer was getting in an elevator and disconnected when reached by The Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.