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Three Ex-Cops Convicted of Violating George Floyd’s Civil Rights

A federal jury found three former Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights when he was murdered by ex-cop Derek Chauvin in May 2020, The Associated Press reports.

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane were all found guilty of depriving Floyd of medical care while Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s back for over nine minutes. Thao and Kueng were also found guilty on additional charges of failing to intervene against Chauvin; Lane was spared this charge and testified that he twice tried, but failed, to get Chauvin to reposition Floyd.

While civil rights violations that result in a person’s death can garner life in prison or even the death penalty, those measures are rare and it’s unlikely the three ex-officers will receive such severe punishments. In the meantime, all three will remain free on bond until their sentencing hearings.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that the three ex-cops violated their training by not moving Floyd or giving him CPR, even as bystanders could see that he was struggling to breathe and needed help. While Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s back, Thao tried to keep bystanders at bay, while Keung held down Floyd’s torso and Lane held his legs.

Lawyers for the three former officers, in turn, claimed that their training had been inadequate for such a situation, and that they ultimately deferred to Chauvin because he was the senior officer. Thao, Kueng, and Lane all testified during the trial and appeared to put most of the blame on Chauvin. Thao, for instance, said Chauvin “deflected” his suggestions to help Floyd, while Kueng said Chauvin “was my senior officer and I trusted his advice.”

Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering Floyd last April, was initially charged in this federal case, but ended up pleading guilty as part of a plea deal. On top of their federal convictions, Thao, Kueng, and Lane still face a separate state trial on charges that they aided and abetted Floyd’s murder.

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