Minneapolis, MN – A federal grand jury indicted all four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd on Thursday on charges 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 in August.
But 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.”
It was revealed after his trial in Hennepin County district court that Chauvin would have never been released even if he had been found not guilty by the jury.
Federal prosecutors had a secret backup plan to immediately arrest the former officer on federal charges in the Hennepin County courtroom if he wasn’t convicted of Floyd’s murder.
Nothing about the handling of the charges against Chauvin or his incarceration immediately following his trial for the murder of Floyd were done in the usual manner.
Chauvin faces anywhere from 12.5 to 40 years in prison for the murder of Floyd when he is sentenced on June 25.
The length of his sentence depends on whether the Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill approves an enhanced sentence for aggravating factors.
Chauvin was booked into a maximum security state prison on Wednesday afternoon where he will await sentencing for his conviction on all charges in the murder of George Floyd, CNN reported.
It is unusual for an inmate to be transferred to prison ahead of sentencing, but security concerns led Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to make arrangements with the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) for Chauvin’s immediate incarceration at a state facility, DOC spokeswoman Sarah Fitzgerald said.
Chauvin is being housed separately from the general population of the prison, CNN reported.
But if the jury had found Chauvin not guilty, or if the judge had declared a mistrial due to a hung jury, the former police officer still never had a chance of leaving the Hennepin County courtroom.
Sources told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the emergency contingency plan called for the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office to immediately charge Chauvin with federal crimes by criminal complaint.
And then prosecutors would have run to the secretly empaneled grand jury to whom they have been presenting evidence of federal civil rights violations for months and ask for an indictment against the former police officer.
The goal was to avoid another round of rioting, looting, and burning that was inevitable if Chauvin was set free – even temporary – after the heavily publicized trial in the city that has been suffering unrest for almost a year, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.