A jury in Minneapolis has found three former police officers guilty of violating George Floy’s civil rights.
Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane faced charges of denying Floyd his right to life-saving medical care as they watched lead officer Derek Chauvin press his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes, face-down on a street curb, ignoring his plea that he couldn’t breathe.
Prosecutors argued in the month-long trial that the officers chose to do nothing as Chauvin squeezed the life out of Floyd.
The shocking killing caught on video took place May 25, 2020, led to one of the largest nationwide anti-police protests in the US, boosting global support for Black civil rights championed by the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the video, Chauvin, who was convicted of killing Floyd and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison, could be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck, foot suspended in the air, hand in the pocket, and at times adjusting his position for maximum pressure.
The three officers each played a role leading to Floyd’s death. Thao kept bystanders at bay, Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, and Lane held his legs leaving a handcuffed Floyd helpless under Chauvin’s knee.
In their defense, Kueng and Lane said they deferred to Chauvin because he was the senior officer among them, and Thao said he was unable to help because his attention was focused on the crowd.
A conviction for federal civil rights violations resulting in death is could lead to life in prison or even a death sentence.