Three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights by not aiding him the day he was murdered by fellow officer Derek Chauvin, rejected plea deals last month, prosecutors revealed on Monday.
Former Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting both manslaughter and murder when Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck to pin him to the pavement for nine-and-a-half minutes on May 25, 2020.
The trio were accused of having deprived Floyd of medical care. Thao and Lane were also charged with failing to intervene with Chauvin, who was found guilty on three counts of murder and manslaughter on April 20, 2021.
Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs, and Thao kept bystanders back.
The officers are expected to face state trial in mid-June.
Lead prosecutor in the case Matthew Frank said all three former officers were offered identical plea deals on March 22 after a jury convicted them in a separate trial in February on federal civil rights charges stemming from Floyd’s death, according to pool reports from inside the courtroom.
Frank did not elaborate on the details of the plea offers in open court.
Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said it was hard for the defense to negotiate when the three still don’t know what their federal sentences will be.
All three former officers remain free on bail, and they have yet to be sentenced for their conviction in February. Conviction of a federal civil rights violation that results in death is punishable by life in prison or even death, but such sentences are extremely rare. Federal sentencing guidelines rely on complicated formulas that indicate the officers would get much lower sentences.
Floyd in May 2020 allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill and the situation escalated when officers attempted to arrest him and put him in a police SUV.
Last year, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter for Floyd’s death which sparked widespread riots and protests, as well as calls to “defund the police.” Minneapolis was particularly hit hard by weeks of riots, arson attacks, looting, and violence in the wake of Floyd’s death, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage.
He was handed a 22-and-a-half-year sentence for second-degree murder by Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill.
Chauvin’s sentence was higher than the presumptive 12-and-a-half years after the judge agreed with prosecutors that there were aggravating factors in Floyd’s death. In handing down his sentence, Cahill said Chauvin exhibited “particular cruelty” during Floyd’s death, abused his position of authority as a police officer, and did so in front of children.
Dave Paone and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times