By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump and members of his team who won a $27 million civil judgment in favor of George Floyd’s family and whose relentless work in the case helped lead to a rare conviction of a police officer in the death of a Black person, applauded new federal indictments in the case on Friday, May 7.
“Today’s federal indictment for criminal, civil rights violations associated with the murder of George Floyd reinforces the strength and wisdom of the United States Constitution,” Crump said in a combined statement with attorneys Antonio Romanucci and L. Chris Stewart.
A federal grand jury handed down indictments against four former Minneapolis police officers at the scene of Floyd’s 2020 death.
The indictment charges the officers with violating Floyd’s constitutional rights.
It alleges that Derek Chauvin, the former cop convicted in April on state murder charges, deprived Floyd of the right to be free from unreasonable seizure by a police officer.
Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng also were hit with federal indictments after failing to stop Chauvin from fatally wounding Floyd.
Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, continuing even after EMT workers who arrived at the scene could not detect a pulse.
Chauvin, Thao, Kueng, and the fourth officer, Thomas Lane, all face a charge for failing to give Floyd medical aid.
“The defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd,” the grand jury charged.
Additional charges were lodged against Chauvin related to his use of “unreasonable force” on a 14-year-old in September 2017.
The indictment noted that Chauvin “held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight.” Chauvin further “held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also resulting in bodily injury.”
While Chauvin faces as much as 40 years in prison after his conviction on state charges, Thao, Kueng, and Lane are scheduled to stand trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Each has pleaded not guilty.
“The Constitution claims to be committed to life, liberty, and justice, and we are seeing this realized in the justice George Floyd continues to receive,” Crump stated.
“This comes after hundreds of years of American history in which Black Americans, unfortunately, did not receive equal justice. The constitutional violations that George suffered are clear and were also detailed by our civil litigation team last July.”
“Further, the additional indictment of Derek Chauvin shows a pattern and practice of behavior. We are encouraged by these charges and eager to see continued justice in this historic case that will impact Black citizens and all Americans for generations to come.”