Minneapolis, MN – The four former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating 46-year-old George Floyd’s civil rights on the day he died were arraigned in federal court on Tuesday.
A federal grand jury indicted all four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd in May on charges that they violated Floyd’s civil rights during the incident that led to his death.
A Hennepin County jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter on April 20.
Former Minneapolis Police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane, and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder and have been scheduled to stand trial together in Hennepin County next March.
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a federal grand jury had charged Chauvin, Thao, and Kueng each with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, NBC News reported.
Lane was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.
The indictment said that Chauvin “willfully deprived George Floyd of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free from an unreasonable force by a police officer,” NBC News reported.
Thao and Kueng were charged with failing to intervene in Chauvin’s unreasonable use of force, CNN reported.
All four former police officers were federally charged for failing to render medical aid to Floyd.
The grand jury also handed down two counts against Chauvin related to a 2017 arrest he made of a 14-year-old boy who had been attacking his family members.
“Chauvin, without legal justification, held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight,” federal prosecutors said in a statement, according to NBC News.
The statement said that Chauvin “held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also resulting in bodily injury.”
On Tuesday, all four men appeared at a virtual arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony Leung, NBC News reported.
All four former Minneapolis police officers pleaded not guilty to the charges at the hearing, the Associated Press reported.
Attorneys are scheduled to argue at least 40 pre-trial motions on Sept. 14.
Kueng and Thao’s defense attorneys have asked the judge to separate their clients’ federal trials from Chauvin’s and claimed the other former officers would be unfairly prejudiced if they stood trial beside the already-convicted murderer, NBC News reported.
Lane also wants to join their request.
Prosecutors oppose the separation of the trials, NBC News reported.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a “pattern or practice” investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department to examine whether the department has engaged in unlawful or unconstitutional policing, the Associated Press reported.
Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020 after officers responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that he had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.
A Hennepin County jury found Chauvin guilty after less than 12 hours of deliberations.
He was sentenced to 270 months, or 22-and-a half years, in prison.
Chauvin appeared at the virtual hearing from his cell in a maximum security prison, NBC News reported.