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Former Minneapolis Police Officers Found Guilty of Violating George Floyd’s Civil Rights in Federal Trial

A federal jury on Thursday found three former Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao were all found guilt of willfully failing to aid Floyd as he lay on the ground beneath fellow officer Derek Chauvin’s knee. Kueng and Thao were also found guilty of failing to intervene in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, KSTP reported.

Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while Floyd repeatedly told the officers he couldn’t breathe. The four officers were trying to arrest him for allegedly passing a counterfeit note.

Chauvin had been charged with failing to aid Floyd and with kneeling on Floyd’s ncck in May 2020 while he was handcuffed and not resisting, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Chauvin pleaded guilty to those charges in December and was convicted in April on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years on the state charges and 25 years for the federal charges.

Kueng, Lane, and Thao have been charged in state court with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter; their joint trial on those charges is expected to begin next month.

The federal jury began deliberations on Wednesday after hearing testimony for a month, KSTP said. They deliberated for less than 13 hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

Prosecutors argued during trial that the three violated their training by not offering help for a man in obvious distress.

Defense attorneys said that the officers didn’t willfully violate Floyd’s rights because they weren’t properly trained and were inexperienced.

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[Featured image: Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, Tuo Thao/Hennepin County Jail]