May 24, 2022

CONVICTED: Former Minnesota cops found complicit in murder of George Floyd

FACING LIFE: Three ex-Minnesota cops convicted as complicit for George Floyd's murder

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Three former Minneapolis police officers just got convicted of a federal civil rights crime for indifference to George Floyd’s medical needs while their superior officer murdered the unarmed black man on a street curb. Two of the three officers were also convicted on a second count for failure to intervene whatsoever to save Floyd’s life this past Thursday.

The world knows Derek Chauvin’s name. He’s the disgraced Minneapolis police officer who took the life of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier recorded a cell phone camera video. It bore witness. The video went viral. But she wasn’t alone.

Three other officers were present.

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Those officers failed to uphold their duty and do what they could to prevent the death of Floyd.  It was that failure for which the federal government used to charge now-former Minneapolis PD cops Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao with violating Floyd’s civil rights.  It’s a charge that carries a penalty of up to life in prison. CNN reported on the verdict:

The 12 jurors — four men and eight women — found Lane, Kueng and Thao guilty of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by showing deliberate indifference to his medical needs as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd for more than 9 minutes on May 25, 2020, ultimately killing him. The jurors also found Thao and Kueng guilty of an additional charge for failing to intervene to stop Chauvin. Lane, who did not face the extra charge, testified that he asked Chauvin twice to reposition Floyd while restraining him but was denied both times.

Their trial began in January of this year and ended yesterday with the jury returning guilty verdicts for the three former officers. The main focus of the prosecution was to drive home the fact that they stood by and did nothing.

They chose to do nothing. Their defense? They trusted their superior officer.

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While Tueng and Lane were rookies, Thao had eight years of continuous service. He started with the MPD almost 13 years ago as a community service officer and returned in 2012 after a brief layoff.  Former cop Tou Thao was the officer who arrived at the scene with Chauvin and he is not a stranger to brutality charges.

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Thao has been the subject of multiple police complaints and had a total of eight citations filed against him during his tenure as a Minneapolis Police Officer. Only three years before Floyd’s death, he was accused of beating Lamar Ferguson while he was restrained. Shattered teeth and $25,000 later, a federal lawsuit against Thou came to a resolution in the wake of that brutal assault. He fled Minneapolis after the video of Floyd’s murder went viral.

For his safety.

During the trial, the three officers maintained their innocence. The Fifth Amendment gives everyone the right to maintain their innocence.

Seeking to shift blame to both Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department, the three cops who mostly silently witnessed Floyd’s murderer claimed lack of proper training. They also claimed the assumption that they had no say in the events due to the seniority of their superior. Just following orders.

Two of the officers, Lane and Tueng, assisted Chauvin with restraining Floyd, holding his legs and kneeling on his back. The video clearly shows that Floyd was in distress.

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But for over nine minutes, they did nothing.

As the crowd gathered, pleading with all four officers to do something to help save George Floyd’s life as he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. An off-duty EMT was on the scene and could’ve saved Floyd from Chauvin, but the officers wouldn’t let her provide assistance which she recounted in pathos-filled testimony against the murderer last year.

Thao held them back.

They gave no CPR, as their training as police officers’ job duties dictated. No intervention. But in the end, the jury agreed with the prosecution and handed down guilty verdicts.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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