24 February 2022

Former police officers convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights

24 February 2022

Three former Minneapolis police officers have been convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Mr Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes as the 46-year-old black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street on May 25, 2020.

Thao and Lane were also charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin.

Former Minneapolis police officers J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The videotaped killing sparked protests in Minneapolis that spread around the globe as part of reckoning over racial injustice.

Chauvin was convicted of murder last year in state court and pleaded guilty in December in the federal case.

Kueng knelt on Mr Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.

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 Mr Floyd’s medical needs as his attention was elsewhere.

Conviction of a federal civil rights violation that results in death is punishable by life in prison or even death, but such sentences are extremely rare.

(Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP) (AP)

During the month-long trial, prosecutors sought to show that the officers violated their training, including when they failed to move Mr Floyd or give him CPR.

Prosecutors argued that Mr Floyd’s condition was so serious that even bystanders without basic medical training could see he needed help.

The defence said their training was inadequate and that the officers deferred to Chauvin as the senior officer at the scene.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox