Jury selection begins Thursday in the federal trial for the three ex-cops who stood idle as Derek Chauvin put his knee on the neck of George Floyd.
Prosecutors will have to prove if each of the officers willingly violated George Floyd’s constitutional rights, but this task may prove to be difficult.
According to experts, in federal cases, an accident, bad judgment, or negligence isn’t enough to support federal charges; therefore, prosecutors must prove that the three officers knew what they were doing was wrong, but continued to do it anyway.
According to the indictment, all three officers saw Floyd needed medical attention, but failed to assist him with any aid.
J. Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao all face charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights while under government authority. Thao and Kueng have also been charged with willfully violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure for not stopping Derek Chauvin while his knee was on Floyd’s neck.
The officers could face life in prison, but sentences like that are highly unlikely, especially in cases involving law enforcement.
“This trial is going to present an evolutionary step beyond what we saw at the Chauvin trial because we’re not looking at the killer, but the people who enable the killer,” said former federal prosecutor Mark Osler. “That gets a step closer to the culture of the department.”
On April 20, 2021, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. He was unanimously convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. It took the jury 10 hours of deliberation after the prosecution and defense rested their respective cases about five weeks after the murder trial began.
On June 25, 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. After sentencing, Chauvin addressed the court offering his “condolences” to the Floyd family then stating, “There’s gonna be some other information in the future that will be of interest and I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”
Dec. 15, 2021, Chavin pleaded guilty to civil rights charges related to the death of George Floyd. According to the plea agreement, Chavin faces 20 to 25 years in prison, but prosecutors requested he serve the sentence concurrently with his already 22 and a half years sentence.