Three ex-officers convicted in federal civil rights trial over George Floyd’s death

Federal jurors have found Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng guilty in the case of George Floyd's civil rights violations during his fatal arrest.

Three ex-officers convicted in federal civil rights trial over George Floyd’s death

According to The Associated Press, while they could spend life in prison, the federal sentencing guidelines may allow them to get a lesser sentence.

Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights. Kueng and Thao were also accused of failing to intervene in order to stop Derek Chauvin, a fellow officer. He had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Floyd's legal team, which included Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci, Jeff Storms, and co-counsel Jeff Storms, issued a statement shortly following the convictions.

It stated that today marked the end of another chapter in our quest for justice for George Floyd's family. "Nothing can bring George Floyd back, but these verdicts will ensure that the indifference and ignorance shown by these officers toward human life will be eradicated from our national police departments so no family will suffer a loss like this."

The prosecution argued that Floyd was not given first aid immediately after he started to struggle to breath in closing arguments.

Defense emphasized the testimony of officers that Floyd was still breathing. They also blamed a lack in police training. They pointed to precedent and training that led them to believe Chauvin was their superior.

Chauvin was convicted in April of murder and pleaded guilty in December to a federal civil rights offense. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson stressed to the jurors that Chauvin's convictions shouldn't affect their verdict.

The four officers responded on May 25, 2020 to a call in which Floyd, 46, was accused of using a fake $20 bill. After Floyd was taken into custody, Chauvin tied Floyd to the ground and rubbed his neck with his knee for nine minutes.

They were surrounded by witnesses who were caught on video shouting at Floyd.

The trial was focused on Lane, Thao, and Kueng's actions. Kueng was seen laying on Floyd's back during the fatal stop. Lane was holding his legs down.

All three men said they had suggested other methods to Floyd. Lane, the White rookie officer who called the ambulance, stated that they decided not to use a hobbler, which allows the person with limited mobility to breathe while being restrained. It would have required them to call a supervisor once he was taken into custody.

He also stated that he suggested they roll Floyd over on his side once he had stopped resisting. Chauvin denied this. Lane said that the situation could have been handled differently towards the end of his testimony.

Thao, a Hmong American, testified that he was in charge crowd control and had never checked Floyd's pulse. He also pointed out the officers' inexperience and lower rank than Chauvin.

Thao was asked why he didn’t tell Chauvin to get off Floyd's neck. CBS Minnesota reported.

Kueng, the Black rookie officer, said that probationary officers were taught to defer to their superiors to the point where they would be willing to obey them. He stated he was worried about Floyd's safety, but he followed Chauvin.

Kueng stated, "He was my superior officer and I trusted him with my advice."

Thao, Kueng, and Lane will face a state court in June on charges of manslaughter and aiding and abetting killing.

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