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Testimony begins today for former officers accused of violating Floyd’s rights

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Testimony begins today for former officers accused of violating Floyd’s rights

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The federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights when Derek Chauvin pinned the black man’s neck to the street is set to begin Monday with opening statements, after a jury in 18 people was quickly chosen last week.

J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are widely accused of depriving Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority. All three are charged with failing to provide medical treatment to Floyd and Thao and Kueng face an additional charge for failing to arrest Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder and manslaughter by a court. of state last year.

Legal experts say prosecutors must prove that Kueng, Lane and Thao willfully violated Floyd’s constitutional rights, while defense attorneys are likely to blame Chauvin for the murder of Floyd, which was videotaped and a sparked global protests, violence and a re-examination of racism and policing.

Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pressed him to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9½ minutes while Floyd was face down, handcuffed and out of breath. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs up. Thao prevented passers-by from intervening.

Lawyers for the Floyd family said bystander video shows the three officers “directly contributed to (Floyd’s) death and did not intervene to stop the senseless killing.”

On Thursday, 18 people were chosen for the jury; 12 will deliberate and six will be substitutes. Two of the jurors – one supposed to deliberate and the other alternate – appear to be of Asian descent. The rest appears to be white. The jurors include people from the Twin Cities area, suburbs and southern Minnesota. The court declined to provide demographic information.

Federal prosecutions of officers implicated in on-duty killings are rare. Prosecutors face a high legal standard to show that an officer deliberately deprived someone of their constitutional rights. Essentially, prosecutors must prove that the officers knew what they were doing was wrong, but did it anyway.

The indictment charges Thao, who is Hmong American; Lane, who is white; and Kueng, who is black, by deliberately denying Floyd the right to be free from an officer’s willful indifference to his medical needs. The indictment says the three men saw that Floyd clearly needed medical attention and did not help him.

Thao and Kueng are also charged with a second count alleging they willfully violated Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure by failing to arrest Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. . It’s unclear why Lane isn’t mentioned in this count, but evidence shows he twice asked if Floyd should be rolled to his side.

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

U.S. District Judge Magnuson told jurors the trial could last four weeks. It is unclear whether any of the three officers will testify. It’s also unclear if Chauvin will testify, though many experts who spoke to The Associated Press believe he won’t.

Lane, Kueng and Thao will also face a separate trial in June for aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter.

Associated Press writer Tammy Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan.

Testimony begins today for former officers accused of violating Floyd’s rights

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