Since the death and release of the viral video showing the murder of George Floyd by a cop last year, a federal grand jury has finally indicted Derek Chauvin, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao for the violation of Floyd’s civil rights.
Chauvin is being federally accused of not protecting Floyd by using unreasonable force while on active duty as a police officer during Floyd’s death. Thao and Kueng are accused of “willingly failing to intervene to stop Chauvin from using unreasonable force, a failure that also led to Floyd’s death,” (CNBC News). Including Lane, all four of the former officers also face charges of willfully letting Floyd be murdered by not aiding him despite there being a clear need for medical care as he lay on the ground.
The indictment came only three weeks after Chauvin was found guilty for the murder and manslaughter of Floyd — which undoubtedly opened the flood gates for subsequent charges. Additionally, these newly unveiled federal charges were made public an untimely three weeks before the other involved officers face their state trial for Floyd’s death. Between Chauvin’s conviction and the new federal indictments, the chances for Kueng, Lane, and Thao to get a positive verdict from any jury are looking bleak.
Chauvin’s past behaviors begin to show pattern as he also has been federally indicted on an eerily similar, yet completely separate, case from 2017 where he kneeled on the neck of a facedown, handcuffed 14-year-old until the boy lost consciousness. Chauvin also faces accusations of repeatedly striking the boy in the head with a flashlight after the boy refused to get up off the floor just prior to choking the boy out with his knee. In this case, Chauvin’s offense directly resulted in bodily injury to the boy and is the grounds for the federal indictment. Not to mention, all actions by Chauvin were again caught on camera.
The day after Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Floyd, Attorney General Merrick Garland launched an investigation into the practices by the Lousiville police department to be carried out by the US Justice Department. Further, the attorney general stated that this investigation would assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department shows patterns or practices of use of excessive force, including during protests.
Chauvin’s legal defense team has already filed an appeal arguing that they should have been granted a change of venue due to the mass amount of negative public attention this case drew yet was still held in Minneapolis. Though it is unlikely a change of venue would turn the tables for Chauvin, the appeal is still open.
As for the four other ex-officers, the federal indictment files claims that they willingly allowed George Floyd to die by denying him the right to be protected and set free from the unreasonable force by a police officer. However, it is Chauvin alone who will take on an additional count dealing with the exact cause of George Floyd’s death by holding his knee across Floyd’s back, neck, and arm even after Floyd became still and unresponsive.