Three ex-Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s fatal arrest have been found guilty of violating his civil rights. A federal jury delivered a guilty verdict for Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane on Thursday (Feb. 24).
All three former cops were found guilty of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by showing a deliberate indifference to his medical needs as he pleaded for air underneath Derek Chauvin’s kneeling restraint for over nine minutes.
The jury also found Thao and Kueng guilty of failing to intervene on Chauvin. Lane was not charged with the offense as he testified that he asked Chauvin to reposition Floyd twice, but the ex-cop refused.
According to the Department of Justice, violating a person’s civil rights “is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime and the resulting injury, if any.” However, federal guidelines recommend a lesser sentence.
Thao, Kueng and Lane are currently free on bond and are expected to begin their pre-sentencing proceedings next week.
“Today closes another important chapter in our journey for justice for George Floyd and his family,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Floyd’s family’s legal team said in a statement on Thursday.
“This is just accountability; it can never be justice because I can never get George back,” Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd added.
Attorney General Merrick Garland also said the jury’s guilty verdict “recognizes that two police officers violated the Constitution by failing to intervene, to stop another officer from killing George Floyd; and three officers violated the Constitution by failing to provide aid to Mr. Floyd in time to prevent his death.”
“George Floyd should be alive today,” he added.
The three officers will also head to state trial this June on charges of aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder. They have pleaded not guilty to those charges.
“We hope, and we expect, that these officers will once again be held accountable for their lack of humanity,” Floyd’s family’s legal team said of the upcoming trial.
Chauvin previously pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights and was convicted of murder and manslaughter last year. He’s currently serving a 22-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the convictions.
For the civil rights offense, Chauvin faces a prison sentence between 20 and 25 years, which will be served concurrently with his state sentence.