ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – 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 Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 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.
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 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 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.