Three former Minneapolis police officers have been found guilty on all counts of violating the civil rights of African American George Floyd whose death at the hands of police in 2020 spurred protests against systemic racism around the world.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao on Thursday were convicted by a jury of depriving Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority when they failed to give him medical aid.
Kueng and Thao were also convicted of not intervening to stop their fellow officer Derek Chauvin from using excessive force. Chauvin knelt on Floyd for more than 9 minutes on May 25, 2020, ultimately killing the Black man.
“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,” Floyd’s legal team said in a statement.
“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.”
The jury began deliberating Wednesday morning after a monthlong trial.
Although the former officers were tried together, they were charged separately due to their different roles in Floyd’s killing. While Thao held back bystanders, Kueng helped restrain Floyd by kneeling on his back, and Lane held the feet of the Black man.
Violating a person's civil rights "is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty," according to the Department of Justice. However, such sentences are extremely rare.
The former officers will remain free on bond pending sentencing.
“This is just accountability. It can never be justice because I can never get George back,” Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. “And no matter how many times that I pray at night and I think about my brother 24/7, it still is going to be hard.”
Chauvin pleaded guilty to the federal case in December. He had already been convicted of murder and manslaughter in a state trial and was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.