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Murder of George Floyd: Three former police officers stand trial charged with violating the civil rights of a black man |  world news

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Murder of George Floyd: Three former police officers stand trial charged with violating the civil rights of a black man | world news

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Three former Minneapolis police officers who were at the scene of the May 2020 murder of George Floyd are on trial today in US federal court.

Former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng are accused of violating Mr Floyd’s civil rights by failing to administer medical aid to him. Kueng and Thao are also accused of failing to intervene when Derek Chauvin knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

Both counts allege that the officers’ actions resulted in Mr Floyd’s death.

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Mr Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world

The viral video footage of the murder shows Kueng kneeling on Mr Floyd’s back and Lane holding his legs. We see Thao preventing passers-by from intervening.

What’s going on today – and what are prosecutors trying to prove?

The first arguments will be heard today and Judge Paul Magnuson told the court the trial could last around a month.

Prosecutors will try to prove that the three defendants willfully denied Mr. Floyd his constitutional rights – by depriving him of his liberty without due process.

Barrister Ben Crump, who represents Mr Floyd’s family, tweeted: ‘Derek Chauvin’s knee was on George Floyd’s neck, but the other three officers aided and abetted his death. They could have saved his life of Floyd. They must ALSO be held accountable for their inaction!”

Chauvin is not on trial for those charges as he pleaded guilty in December, months after his conviction for murder and manslaughter.

Murder of George Floyd: Three former police officers stand trial charged with violating the civil rights of a black man |  world news

 |  Latest News Headlines
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Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years

He was originally sentenced to 22.5 years and could now face more time behind bars following this latest guilty plea.

What will the defense argue?

Rachel Paulose, a former U.S. attorney from Minnesota, said it’s “very likely that the other three officers will point the finger at Derek Chauvin and try to absolve himself of responsibility by claiming that he alone was responsible for the abuses against Mr. Floyd that led to his murder.”

Although harsh sentences are rarely handed down in these federal civil rights cases, a conviction can mean life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Murder of George Floyd: Three former police officers stand trial charged with violating the civil rights of a black man |  world news

 |  Latest News Headlines
Picture:
George Floyd, pictured in high school, died in 2020
Murder of George Floyd: Three former police officers stand trial charged with violating the civil rights of a black man |  world news

 |  Latest News Headlines
Picture:
George Floyd responds to police after they approached his car in Minneapolis. Photo: AP

“At a minimum, it looks like these officers are facing 27 months in prison,” Ms. Paulose said, “but of course that could go as far as life. Much will ultimately depend on which officer is found guilty of this. which counts, as well as the need to weigh their pain against that of Mr. Chauvin.”

How unusual are these fees?

These types of federal civil rights cases are rare.

According to data from Syracuse University, in 2019 these charges represented only a tiny fraction of lawsuits filed – 27 lawsuits out of 100,000, or 0.027%.

The fact that this case is even going to trial is indicative of progress, Ms Paulose says: “I think 10 years ago this crime might not even have been charged, but I think the public, the ministry of Justice and even the officers themselves recognize the limits of reasonable force.

“It should be possible to detain a non-violent person without killing them. I think that’s fundamental to our sense of justice, and I think that’s one of the many reasons why this case has caused so much uproar. outrage in the United States and around the world.”

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This is the first of two trials the three former police officers will face this year. They are also charged in Minnesota state court with aiding and abetting the murder and manslaughter of Mr Floyd.

This trial is due to begin on June 13.

Murder of George Floyd: Three former police officers stand trial charged with violating the civil rights of a black man | world news

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