(Trends Wide) — Four former Minneapolis police officers pleaded “not guilty” in federal court Tuesday to charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights during his arrest when he was killed by police in May 2020.
Former police officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were indicted before US District Judge Tony N. Leung on charges of violation of civil rights via video conference in Minneapolis.
Chauvin appeared from the Minnesota Maximum Security Prison in Oak Park Heights, outside Minneapolis, where he is currently serving a 22½-year sentence for Floyd’s murder.
A federal investigating court in May charged the former police officers with violating Floyd’s constitutional rights during the May 25, 2020, arrest.
The indictment said Chauvin deprived Floyd of the right to be free from “unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.”
Thao and Kueng were also charged in connection with their failure to intervene in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, according to the indictment. Chauvin, Thao, Kueng, and Lane also face a charge for failing to provide Floyd with medical assistance.
According to the indictment, “the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground clearly in need of medical attention, and they deliberately did not assist Floyd, thus acting with deliberate disregard for a substantial risk of harm to Floyd.”
Chauvin was also charged in a separate indictment related to an incident in which he allegedly used unreasonable force on a 14-year-old Minneapolis boy in September 2017, according to the Justice Department.
Separately, Thao, Kueng and Lane are charged in state court with complicity in accidental murder and unintentional manslaughter in the commission of a felony in Floyd’s death. The three former police officers pleaded not guilty.
Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.
A bystander video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as the 46-year-old man, handcuffed and lying on the street, gasped and told officers: “I can’t breathe.”
Thao, Kueng, and Lane were at the scene with Chauvin.
The federal charges are separate from a civil investigation into Minneapolis police practices announced in April by Attorney General Merrick Garland.