Now that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday, prosecutors will set about making their case against the three other former officers who took part in the brutal arrest.
Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, all former officers who were fired and arrested days after the killing of Floyd last May, face charges that they aided and abetted the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd, reports Reuters.
The murder of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, sparked an acute period of unrest and wave of protests against police terror, impunity and racism in the United States.
Aiding and abetting murder can face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, but state sentencing guidelines can reduce the maximum to 15 years.
Then-officers Kueng, 27, and Lane, 38, were the first to arrive at the food store where Floyd allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase cigarettes. The deadly altercation began when Lane commanded Floyd to exit his car. Kueng, a rookie who had just begun as an officer the prior December, stood between Chauvin and Lane during the arrest and kneeled on Floyd’s back with his hand on Floyd’s handcuffed left wrist.
During the encounter, Chauvin, Kueng and Lane each used their weight to restrain Floyd.
During one point, Lane asked, “Should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin replied: “No, staying put where we got him.” Lane responded, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” to which Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”
When Floyd stopped moving after an excruciating nine minutes and 29 seconds with the officers on his back, and Chauvin on his neck, none of the officers moved their positions – despite pleas from onlookers and a confirmation by Kueng that Floyd had lost his pulse.
Officer Tou Thao arrived after Floyd was handcuffed. While he was the only officer who never physically touched Floyd, he stands accused of standing by during the murder of Floyd by Chauvin.
In the meantime, Thao stood between the gathering onlookers and the violent arrest. When one bystander stepped from the curb, “imploring Chauvin to get off of Mr. Floyd, (Thao) put his hands on the citizen to keep him back,” the complaint said.
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