Federal authorities reportedly planned to arrest Derek Chauvin on federal police brutality charges if he was acquitted in George Floyd’s death or if the case concluded in a mistrial.
A source told the Star-Tribune that federal authorities’ plan was to arrest Chauvin, 44, at the Hennepin County courthouse, but it was not necessary as he was convicted of all charges.
However, federal prosecutors reportedly still intend to indict Chauvin and three other ex-Minneapolis police officers, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, on civil rights violations in connection with Floyd’s death.
Sources explained to the Star-Tribune that the first plan would require the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office to charge Chauvin via a criminal complaint, which does not involve a grand jury, so they could immediately arrest him. Federal authorities would then seek a grand jury indictment.
If a federal grand jury chooses to indict the four former officers, they would stand trial twice: once in state court and once in federal court.
According to the New York Post, the Department of Justice was also considering charging Chauvin for a 2017 incident in which he allegedly used his knee to restrain a teen for almost 17 minutes.
On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
Chauvin’s attorneys claimed the ex-officer used reasonable force and other factors, including drug use, contributed to Floyd’s death. However, Chauvin was convicted on April 20 of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder.
Chauvin remains jailed at Oak Park Heights Prison — a maximum-security facility — as he awaits a June 16 sentencing hearing.
Thao, Lane, and Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. Their joint trial is scheduled to begin on August 23.
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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin/Minnesota Department of Corrections]