In Minnesota, three former Minneapolis police officers have been found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights. On Thursday, a federal jury found J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao each failed in their duties on May 25, 2020, as they ignored Floyd’s repeated pleas of “I can’t breathe” while Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, murdering him. Two of the officers also helped Chauvin physically restrain Floyd, while one officer prevented passersby from intervening. Federal prosecutor Charles Kovats spoke after the verdict.
Charles Kovats: “These officers had a moral responsibility, a legal obligation and a duty to intervene, and by failing to do so, they committed a crime. This is a reminder that all sworn law enforcement officers, regardless of rank or seniority, individually and independently, have a duty to intervene and provide medical aid to those in their custody.”
The three officers remain free on bond until their sentencing hearing. They still face a state trial in June on charges of aiding and abetting George Floyd’s murder. Floyd’s family welcomed Thursday’s verdict, which they said should serve as an example for police departments around the country. This is George Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams.
Brandon Williams: “Oftentimes, you know, officers kill Black and Brown men and women, and we get little to no consequences. A lot of times we don’t even get charges, let alone a conviction, you know, so we’ll take this small victory and smile about it and be happy. But deep down, we’re still hurting. You know, we want this to stop.”