By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
The conviction in federal court, comes months after another former officer, Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd after kneeling on his neck for nine and a half minutes in May 2020.
Chauvin also pled guilty to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
The jurors also found Thao and Kueng guilty of an additional charge for failing to intervene to stop Chauvin.
Lane, who did not face the extra charge, told jurors that he twice asked Chauvin to move Floyd while restraining him.
Both times, he said Chauvin refused to move Floyd.
According to the Department of Justice, conviction of violating an individual’s civil rights “is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.”
It’s expected that the officers won’t receive the death penalty, but life in prison.
“Today closes another important chapter in our journey for justice for George Floyd and his family. These officers tried to devise any excuse that could let them wash the blood from their hands but following these verdicts George’s blood will forever stain them,” Attorney Ben Crump said in a statement with two other lawyers.
“Today’s guilty verdicts should serve as the guiding example of why police departments across America should expand and prioritize instruction on an officer’s duty to intervene and recognize when a fellow officer is using excessive force,” Crump noted.
The statement continued:
“With that being said, the existing policies were not on trial; rather, on trial were the human beings present when the breath was taken from an unarmed man right in front of them.
“Nothing will bring George Floyd back to his loved ones, but with these verdicts, we hope that the ignorance and indifference toward human life shown by these officers will be erased from our nation’s police departments, so no other family has to experience a loss like this.
“The Floyd family will have to relive the traumatic disregard for George’s life once again in June, when these officers will stand trial in state court. We hope, and we expect, that these officers will once again be held accountable for their lack of humanity.”