The three former police officers in Minneapolis who helped Derek Chauvin restrain George Floyd are facing a jury today and hearing opening arguments in the federal case, in which they are accused of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao are charged with deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly failing to give Floyd medical aid on May 25, 2020, the indictment states.
Thao and Kueng are also facing additional charges for not intervening in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force when he kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.
The three assisting officers have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, but Chauvin has admitted guilt to violating Floyd’s civil rights in a plea deal for his state conviction sentencing. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in state charges.
The federal case is separate from the state charges for Floyd’s death. Kueng, Lane and Thao have pleaded not guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting, and that trial is tentatively set for June
The trial will not be televised as Chauvin’s state trial was, as federal courts do not allow cameras.
The evidence presented is expected to be similar to Chauvin’s state case, with witnesses from by-standers, medical experts, and police use-of-force experts.