ST PAUL, MINNESOTA (AP) – The three Minneapolis police officers alongside Derek Chauvin at the scene of George Floyd’s killing offered a variety of reasons why they weren’t to blame.
A federal jury swept them all aside on Thursday, emerging from two days of deliberations that followed a month of testimony to convict Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
All three men were convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care as the 46-year-old Black man was pinned under Chauvin’s knee for nine-and-a-half minutes while handcuffed, facedown on the street on May 25, 2020. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back.
Thao and Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in the videotaped killing that sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the globe as part of a reckoning over racial injustice.
Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd called the verdicts “accountability”, but added: “There can never be justice because I can never get George back.”
And Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said the outcome “sends a message that says, if you murder or use excessive or deadly force, there’s consequences that follow”.
A jury of eight women and four men reached the verdicts after about two days of deliberations.
The former officers remain free on bond pending sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled. Conviction of a federal civil rights violation that results in death is punishable by life in prison or even death, but such sentences are extremely rare. Federal sentencing guidelines rely on complicated formulas that indicate the officers would get much less.