Black Lives Matter
Three Former Officers Convicted of Violating George Floyd's Rights
by Kenna McCafferty
25 February 2022
The former Minneapolis police officers who failed to step in and offer George Floyd medical assistance when under duress have been found guilty of violating Floyd's human rights. Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were all present during Floyd's fatal arrest and ignored the victim's cries for help. Thao and Keung were also found guilty on the additional charge of failing to intervene. Lane, however, testified that he urged Chauvin to reposition the restraint and was not charged with the extra count.
On May 25, 2020, as former officer Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, Kueng and Lane held down’ Floyd’s torso and legs, while Thao kept back a crowd of bystanders. Kueng and Lane, with less than a week on the job, testified that they were taught not to question the authority of Chauvin, who had 19 years of experience in the force. Thao, with nine years of experience, testified that he trusted his colleagues.
“This is a reminder that all law enforcement officers, regardless of seniority, individually and independently, have a duty to intervene and provide medical aid to those in their custody,” Assistant US Attorney Charles Kovats said during a press conference following the verdict.
The charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights is punishable by imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances, though federal sentencing guidelines suggest the offending officers could receive a lesser sentence.
"This is just accountability, it can never be justice because I can never get George back," Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, said in a news conference Thursday evening.
Chauvin, who was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
The pre-sentencing proceedings are expected to start in the next week as the three remain free on bond.
Photo via Getty/ Spencer Platt