Four former Minneapolis police officers have been arrested by the US Department of Justice, led by US Attorney General Merrick Garland, in connection with the death of George Floyd. According to court papers filed in federal court in Minnesota, the officers violated Floyd’s civil rights.
According to cnn.com, the indictment claims that Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of second-degree murder in Floyd’s death, robbed Floyd of his right to be free from “unreasonable seizure,” which involves the right to be free from police officers using excessive force.
According to the indictment, former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were both charged with failing to interfere in Chauvin’s use of excessive force. Chauvin, Thao, Kueng, and Thomas Lane, the fourth officer, are all charged with failing to provide Floyd with medical assistance.
According to npr.org, such federal charges are uncommon since meeting the high legal bar they demand is difficult. Prosecutors must show beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin behaved “willfully” to deprive Floyd of his civil rights and used “constitutionally unconstitutional” force.
Chauvin is now facing a federal indictment in connection with a 2017 incident in which he reportedly used a neck brace on a 14-year-old without legal reason and hit the boy in the head with a flashlight.
The men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia were also charged with federal hate crimes by the Justice Department a few weeks ago.