A federal grand jury in Minneapolis (Minnesota) on Friday indicted the four former police officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd on three counts of “intentionally” violating the constitutional rights of the African American on May 25, 2020. Derek Chauvin, declared Guilty last month of killing the racial movement icon, he is awaiting his conviction in June. The other three former agents involved in the event, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, await a state trial scheduled for August. The new charges could lead to another high-profile trial, and a possible federal conviction would be added to the state one.
According to a statement released this Friday by the Department of Justice, the four ex-police officers have been charged on the charge of not providing medical aid to Floyd. Chauvin has also been indicted for violating the right of the African American to be free from submission and for using unreasonable force. In addition, he faces a second indictment, stemming from the arrest of a 14-year-old adolescent whom he held by the throat and hit several times on the head with a flashlight in 2017. For their part, Thao and Kueng have been charged for “deliberately” not intervene to stop “the use of unreasonable force” while Chauvin nailed his knee for more than nine minutes on the neck of the detainee when he claimed that he could not breathe.
The federal jury indictment alleges that the crime of “intentionally” violating constitutional rights “resulted in bodily injury and death of Mr. Floyd,” the document reads. Conviction on a federal civil rights charge in the United States can carry life in prison or even the death penalty, although these sentences are extremely rare.
In a historic trial, Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on April 21 of the three crimes he was charged with – reckless homicide, murder in the second degree (implies intention at the moment, but not premeditation) and murder in the third degree (to cause death by acting in a dangerous way and without care for human life) -. The former agent awaits his sentence, scheduled for June 25, at the Oak Park Heights Correctional Center, Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison. Penalties for the most serious crime, murder in the second degree, can carry up to 40 years in jail.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, filed a motion Tuesday to request a new trial. Nelson alleges that his client did not have a fair trial. According to the lawyer, the court failed to isolate the jury or force them to “avoid any information from the media.” Nelson has asked to annul the verdict on the grounds that the jury “felt threatened or intimidated, felt racial pressure during the proceedings and failed to follow instructions during deliberations.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.