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Justice Dept. Indicts Former Officers in George Floyd Death

  • May 08, 2021

The Biden administration has repeatedly shown it intends to aggressively crack down on police misconduct, including announcing a broad investigation into the Minneapolis police department last month after Mr. Chauvin’s conviction.

“It’s encouraging that the Justice Department is using the civil rights statute in this case,” said Jonathan Smith, a former official in the department’s civil rights division. But, he added, it was too early to tell whether the indictment signaled a willingness by the department to seek more such charges, noting that Mr. Chauvin’s murder conviction was also considered an exception to the norm in police killings.

Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general who oversaw the prosecution of Mr. Chauvin on the state charges, said that it would be “entirely appropriate” for the Justice Department to seek a federal civil rights conviction against him, “particularly now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder under Minnesota law for the death of George Floyd.”

The indictment charges Mr. Chauvin, 45, and other former Minneapolis Police Department officers Tou Thao, 35, J. Alexander Kueng, 27, and Thomas Lane, 38, with willfully depriving Mr. Floyd of his constitutional civil rights during his arrest.

It alleged that Mr. Chauvin used unconstitutional, unreasonable force when he held his knees across Mr. Floyd’s neck, back and arm as he lay handcuffed and unresisting on the ground, and that Mr. Thao and Mr. Kueng willfully failed to stop Mr. Chauvin from using unreasonable force.

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