Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were also charged in connection with their failure to intervene in Chauvin’s use of improper force, as per the indictment. Chauvin, Thao, Kueng and the fourth officer, Thomas Lane, are charged with failing to provide medical assistance to Floyd.
According to the indictment, “the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the floor in urgent need of medical attention and willfully neglecting to help Floyd, thereby deliberately acting indifferently to a significant risk of harm to Floyd.”
Chauvin was also charged in a separate indictment relating to an incident in which he allegedly used inappropriate force against a 14-year-old from Minneapolis in September 2017, the Justice Department said in a statement Friday.
The first count on this charge is that Chauvin “held the teenager by the neck and hit him in the head multiple times with a flashlight,” the DOJ said. A second count states that he “held his knee against the neck and upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying down, handcuffed and unresisting, which also resulted in bodily harm”.
CNN has asked lawyers for all four officers to comment. Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson declined to comment, as did Thomas Plunkett, an attorney who represents Kueng. CNN has also reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department and the city police union for comment.
Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 sparked protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.
The bystander video showed Chauvin kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes 29 seconds while the 46-year-old, handcuffed and lying on the street, gasped and told officers, “I can’t breathe.”Thao, Kueng and Lane were there with Chauvin. They are also facing state charges, including aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter. They have pleaded not guilty and their trial together is expected to take place this summer.
The three former officers videoconference with their attorneys in federal court on Friday, and all three were released on $ 25,000 bail. Chauvin, awaiting conviction for state convictions in June, remains in custody.
The new federal charges are separate from the civil investigation in Minneapolis that Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last month, the Justice Department said Friday.
Attorneys representing Floyd’s family said in a statement that they “are encouraged by these allegations and eager to continue to see justice in this historic case that will affect black citizens and all Americans for generations.”
The statement by civil rights attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and L. Chris Stewart said: “The additional indictment against Derek Chauvin shows a pattern and a practice of conduct.”
Stewart told CNN’s Pamela Brown during an interview on Friday that they spoke to Garland after the charges and told how the family had reacted.
“It was emotional,” said Stewart. “You’re excited about it. We actually spoke to Attorney General Garland today, and I haven’t heard such passion, sympathy, and intent from an Attorney General in a long time. The first thing he said was that no one is up the law and that meant a lot.” “
Stewart added, “He was just expressing his compassion and you could hear the intention in his voice and the determination to achieve family justice. It meant a lot. We were very honored that he did that.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who headed the prosecution against Chauvin, described the charges as “perfectly reasonable” and said the federal government has “a responsibility to protect the civil rights of every American and to pursue justice to the fullest extent of federal law.” ” “”
The news of the charges was hailed by civil rights leaders and activists such as Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, who said in a statement the charges show, “We have a Department of Justice that deals with police crime and does not apologize. “
“For many years we have tried to get the federal government to make it clear that these crimes are not just state crimes, but violate civil rights at the federal level if the police engage in this type of behavior,” the statement said. “What we failed to do in the case of Eric Garner, Michael Brown at Ferguson and countless others, we are finally seeing them today, and this is a significant development for those of us who have been involved in the fight and police reform movement.”
When asked about the indictment on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she and the chauvinist ruling are a reminder that “more needs to be done”.
“While this was certainly a moment of justice, it is only the beginning,” said Psaki. “And it’s a reminder of the need to implement police reform through our legislative process and implement those reforms across the country.”
CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Christina Carrega, Dan Berman, Josh Campbell, Anna-Maja Rappard, Dave Alsup, Paul P. Murphy, and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.