The U.S. Department of Justice, lead by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, has indicted four former Minneapolis police officers in connection with the killing of George Floyd. The charges allege the officers violated Floyd’s constitutional rights, according to court documents filed in federal court in Minnesota.
According to cnn.com, the indictment says Derek Chauvin — who was convicted on second-degree murder charges in Floyd’s death — 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.”
Former officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were also charged in connection with their failure to intervene in Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force, per the indictment. Chauvin, Thao, Kueng and the fourth officer, Thomas Lane, all face a charge for failing to give Floyd medical aid.
Such federal charges are rare, notes npr.org, because it is difficult to meet the high legal bar they require. Prosecutors are charged with proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin acted “willfully” to deprive Floyd of his civil rights and used force that was “constitutionally unreasonable.”
Additionally, Chauvin faces a separate federal indictment related to a 2017 incident where he allegedly used a neck restraint “without legal justification” on a 14-year-old and beat the teenager in the head with a flashlight.
Several weeks ago, the Justice Department also filed federal hate crime charges against the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.