Derek Chauvin & 3 Other Ex-Cops Indicted For Violating George Floyd's Civil Rights

by Julie Scagell

Derek Chauvin and three other ex-Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death have been indicted on federal civil rights charges

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was recently convicted on three counts of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, has been indicted by a federal grand jury today. The three other former Minneapolis officers present during Floyd’s murder have also been indicted.

The grand jury indicted Chauvin in two cases: kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes in May 2020, which led to his death, and for similar action taken with a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Chauvin, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng were each charged with “two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law,” according to the indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice. Thomas Lane was charged once with that same charge. The new charges mean all four officers could face another criminal trial during a time when the call for justice and the end of police brutality continues across the nation.

Chauvin “willfully deprived George Floyd of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free from an unreasonable force by a police officer,” according to the indictment.

In the second count for Chauvin during 2017, court documents show that he hit a teen with his flashlight before grabbing him by the throat, hitting him again, and using a similar neck restraint, the Star Tribune reports.

Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson filed a motion this week, asking for a new trial and claiming the court violated Chauvin’s constitutional rights, citing the trial was held in Hennepin County where Floyd was killed, and not sequestering the jury during the entire trial. Nelson had no comment on the federal charges.

A spokesperson from the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released a statement saying, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”

Floyd died May 25 after Chauvin pinned him to the ground, pinning him down while handcuffed with his knee on Floyd’s neck, as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd. Video from the day showed Kueng kneeling on Floyd’s back and Lane holding down Floyd’s legs.

After the guilty verdicts in Chauvin’s trail, many business leaders publicly called for the country to continue to fight against systemic racism. Best Buy, headquartered in Minnesota wrote: “While this verdict in the murder of George Floyd symbolizes some measure of progress toward racial equity and accountability, it does not fully erase our nation’s history of systemic and institutional racism. We still have a long way to go in our fight for racial justice in this country, and Best Buy’s unwavering commitment to this work is as strong as ever.”

Chauvin is currently in Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison awaiting sentencing in Floyd’s death. The other three former officers face a state trial which will begin in August. They’ve been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. They are currently free on bond.