ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) - A federal jury has found three former Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating George Floyd's civil rights as fellow officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes, killing him.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane all faced federal charges of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care. Thao and Kueng faced an additional charge of failing to intervene.
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, said on Thursday afternoon that it's "been a journey," for the past two years, and thanked the prosecution team that stood behind him.
"This is accountability," he said as he called for nationwide police reform and the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
"We'll take this small victory, and smile about it and be happy, but deep down we're hurting," said Brandon Williams, George Floyd's nephew, saying that many families of Black Americans killed by police rarely see charges against officers or consequences.
Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd's family said the jury's decision "closes another important chapter in our journey for justice for George Floyd and his family. These officers tried to devise any excuse that could let them wash the blood from their hands, but following these verdicts George's blood will forever stain them."
Crump went on to say that the verdict should serve as a signal to police departments across the country to prioritize instruction on an officer's duty to intervene.
"Any of these officers could have saved George Floyd's life," said Ben Feist, interim executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota. "They had a duty to intervene, and they failed. They all are accountable for his death."
Acting U.S. Attorney Charles Kovats said the officers had a legal obligation to intervene, and by failing to do so, failed in their "fundamental duty of policing" and committed a crime.
Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder in Hennepin County last year, pleaded guilty to the federal civil rights charges brought against him. He is currently serving a 22-and-a-half year prison sentence on the state charges.
The three former officers are also slated to stand trial for aiding and abetting Chauvin in Hennepin County this summer.
Jacari Harris, executive director of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, released this statement Thursday evening:
We are grateful that today a jury found the other officers involved in George Floyd's killing guilty for their roles in his death.
Nothing can erase the family's pain of losing George, but they are hopeful that receiving another measure of justice will serve as a reminder that change is coming in this country
The George Floyd Memorial Foundation's mission is to highlight issues involving police brutality along with providing acts of service for communities around the country and ensuring that high school students and law school students have every opportunity to succeed by offering scholarships and other financial assistance.
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