Family members of George Floyd say they’re disappointed and angry after a federal judge sentenced a former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane to just 2 1/2 years in prison for his part in the death of George Floyd.
Three former Minneapolis police officers have been found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights when they failed to intervene as former police officer Derek Chauvin killed Floyd by pressing his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
The indictment charges Mr. Chauvin, 45, and other former Minneapolis Police Department officers Tou Thao, 35, J. Alexander Kueng, 27, and Thomas Lane, 38, with willfully depriving Mr. Floyd of his constitutional civil rights during his arrest.
The indictment alleges that by holding his left knee across Mr. Floyd’s neck and his right knee on his back and arm as he lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting, Mr. Chauvin used unconstitutional, unreasonable force that resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death.
Mr. Thao and Mr. Kueng were charged with willfully failing to stop Mr. Chauvin from using unreasonable force. All four defendants saw Mr. Floyd lying on the ground in need of medical care and willfully failed to aid him, depriving him of his constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which included Mr. Floyd’s right to be free from an officer’s deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, the indictment said.
Chauvin, who was found guilty on state charges of murder and manslaughter in regard to the incident, was also indicted for another incident involving a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
Chauvin reportedly held the teen by the neck and beat him on the head with a flashlight before holding the teen down with his knee on his neck while handcuffed face down on the ground. Sound familiar?
Thao, Kueng, and Lane still face state charges in the Floyd incident with the trial scheduled for August.
After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days following an emotional trial that lasted three weeks, the jury found Mr. Chauvin, who is white, guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, on a street corner last year on Memorial Day.
Mr. Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced in the coming weeks but is likely to receive far less time. The presumptive sentence for second-degree murder is 12.5 years, according to Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, although the state has asked for a higher sentence.
Derrick Johnson, CEO and president of the NAACP, issued this statement:
“While justice landed Derek Chauvin behind bars for killing George Floyd, no amount of justice will bring Gianna’s father back. The same way a reasonable police officer would never suffocate an unarmed man to death, a reasonable justice system would recognize its roots in white supremacy and end qualified immunity. Police are here to protect, not lynch. We will not rest until all in our community have the right to breathe.”
President Biden and VP Harris call the Floyd family after the GUILTY verdict! Thank you @POTUS & @VP for your support! We hope that we can count on you for the police reform we NEED in America! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/cg4V2D5tlI
Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied. pic.twitter.com/mihZQHqACV
Derek Chauvin almost was not even charged with 2nd-degree unintentional murder, the most serious of the 3 charges of which he was found guilty today — and it only took a jury of his peers about 10 hours to decide it was a charge of which he was guilty.
The panel of seven women and five men began deliberating Monday after three weeks of witness testimony.
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The third-degree murder charge had initially been dismissed, but it was reinstated after an appeals court ruling in an unrelated case established new grounds for it days before jury selection started.
Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. Third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. Second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years.
Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd, who was Black, was handcuffed and lying on the ground.
During the trial, prosecutors called 38 witnesses. The defense called seven witnesses, two of whom were experts.
Nearing the end of the defense’s case, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, asked Mr. Chauvin whether he would like to testify in his own defense.
Mr. Nelson said he and Mr. Chauvin have had repeated conversations on the matter, including a “lengthy meeting” Wednesday night. Mr. Chauvin, who removed his mask to answer Mr. Nelson’s questions, chose to waive his right to testify.
The judge questioned Chauvin to make sure that he made his decision not to testify on his own in order to prevent any later claim that he was ill-advised by his defense.
Testimony in the case has now concluded and closing arguments will be presented on Monday.
The former police officer who held his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until Floyd lost consciousness and died is asking that evidence of prior use of similar restraints be blocked from being introduced by prosecutors.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee at George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes and is now charged with his murder, has asked the judge in his case to block prosecutors from introducing evidence of his allegedly having used similar neck and body restraints on other suspects.
Chauvin’s lawyer argues in new court documents that his “use of force” in those cases was legal and cleared by police supervisors.
Prosecutors have said they want to cite eight incidents from Chauvin’s 19-year career as a Minneapolis police officer to show a pattern of excessive force and behavior similar to the Memorial Day encounter that left Floyd dead.
Prosecutors want to include four cases from 2014 to 2019 in which they claim Chauvin restrained suspects “beyond the point when such force was needed.”