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Murder of George Floyd | Three passive police officers found guilty

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(Saint Paul) Three police officers present during the fatal 2020 arrest of George Floyd were found guilty in federal court on Thursday of failing to intervene to provide assistance to the African American, dying before their eyes .

The death of George Floyd, filmed and posted online, sparked huge protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and beyond in the summer of 2020.

Tou Thao, 36, Alexander Kueng, 28, and Thomas Lane, 38, were on trial in Saint Paul, twin city of Minneapolis where the tragedy took place, in the north of the United States. The jury returned its verdict after two days of deliberations, following a month-long trial.

George Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, called the jurors’ decision a “small victory”. “Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction,” he told a news conference. Because “often, when agents kill black men and women, they get away with it without consequence”, he added, believing that this verdict thus sent “a message”.

“It’s a good day for us”, but “I will never get George back”, said, moved, his brother Philonise Floyd.

A fourth police officer, Derek Chauvin, was already found guilty in June of murder and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison by the justice of the State of Minnesota. It was he who had maintained for long minutes, on May 25, 2020, his knee on the neck of George Floyd, causing him to asphyxiate.

Alexander Kueng was on George Floyd’s back, and Thomas Lane was holding his legs. Tou Thao, meanwhile, kept shocked passers-by at bay.

On Thursday, the three officers were found guilty of failing to bring the necessary medical aid to the African-American, who was clearly showing signs of vital distress.

Constables Thao and Kueng, who are Asian and black respectively, were also found guilty of failing to intervene to deter Derek Chauvin from “exerting unreasonable force”.

Thomas Lane, who had twice suggested putting the African-American on his side, in a lateral position of safety, was not targeted by this charge.

Their sentence, which will be pronounced later, can theoretically go up to life in prison, even if this is not a priori what will be retained.

The three police officers will also be tried by the justice of the State of Minnesota, for “complicity in murder”, from the beginning of June.

“Inaction”

“They had the possibility, the authority, the opportunity and the means” to intervene, prosecutor Manda Sertich insisted on Tuesday during her final indictment.

“The passers-by actually acted more than the agents,” she added, referring to witnesses to the scene who tried, in vain, to intervene.

Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, two new Minneapolis police recruits, had been called by a shopkeeper who suspected George Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for a pack of cigarettes.

As they struggled to get this imposing man into their vehicle, they were joined by two experienced agents, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin.

During the trial, the defense had insisted on the lack of experience of agents Kueng and Lang, deployed in the field for only a few days, and on the ascendancy taken by Derek Chauvin in the face of the situation.

The latter pleaded guilty in December in this federal component, then admitting for the first time a share of responsibility in the drama.

“The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable police officers whose actions, or inactions, violate their constitutional duty to protect the civil rights of our fellow citizens,” the US Attorney General said in a statement. , Merrick Garland. “George Floyd should be alive today,” he added.

The images of the death of George Floyd, in the street face against the ground, and after he had repeatedly repeated that he could no longer breathe, had shocked the whole world.

His name had thus become, alongside others, an emblem of the Black Lives Matter movement (black lives matter) during the major anti-racist demonstrations of 2020.



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