4 former officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights plead not guilty

4 former officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights plead not guilty

Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world.

Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Four former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges in his against.

A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao on May 25, 2020, for allegedly depriving Floyd of his rights, while acting under government authority.

Floyd, 46, was held face down, handcuffed and without resisting a restraint that was captured on video from bystanders.

His death sparked protests around the world and pronouncements in favor of a change in police action.

The four men appeared at the hearing remotely by video conference.

Chauvin appeared from a room in the state’s maximum security prison, where he is serving a 22 1/2 year sentence for the murder of Floyd.

The other three men appeared remotely alongside their lawyers.

Prosecutors and attorneys for the former officers also presented their positions on some 40 pretrial motions on Tuesday.

Among them, Kueng and Thao have called for their federal trials to be separated from Chauvin’s, saying that they would be unfairly harmed if they went to trial alongside him.

Lane asked to join in on that request, which is opposed by prosecutors.

Judge Tony N. Leung said he will accept oral arguments on that motion.

Keung’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, wrote in court documents that the evidence against Chauvin would confuse the jury and deprive Kueng of his right to a fair trial.

He also noted that there is a conflict of interest due to Chauvin’s level of guilt in Floyd’s death, saying that “the jurors will not be able to follow the instructions of the court and compartmentalize the evidence in relation to Kueng ”.

Prosecutors have said in court documents that the four former officers should face trial together, because the charges stem from the same event and the evidence is similar.

The federal indictment alleges that Chauvin violated Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizures and unreasonable force by a police officer.

Thao and Kueng are accused of violating Floyd’s right by failing to intervene to arrest Chauvin, as he knelt on Floyd’s neck.

The four officers are also charged with depriving Floyd of his rights when they failed to provide him with medical care.

The four officers were also indicted in state court, where Chauvin’s trial was eventually separated from the others due to space restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chauvin was convicted in April of murder and manslaughter and was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

The other three former officers face a state trial in March on charges of complicity and instigation.

Chauvin was also singled out in a separate federal indictment alleging he violated the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Meanwhile, the federal government is investigating police practices in Minneapolis.

The “pattern or practice” investigation, which examines whether there is an unconstitutional or illegal pattern or practice of policing, includes a thorough review of the entire police department.

This investigation could lead to important changes in the police force in the city of Minnesota.

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