Former Minneapolis officers found guilty in federal civil rights trial

Following a month-long trial, a jury found the officers guilty on all counts Thursday.

From left to right, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane have been convicted in a federal trial of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

The three officers were at the center of a May 25, 2020 incident in which officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck and back for several minutes. The incident set off days of riots across the Twin Cities that caused an estimated $500 million in damage.

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April. He is currently jailed at Oak Park Heights, a maximum security prison.

A few weeks later, a federal indictment accused Chauvin of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights by subjecting him to unreasonable force by a police officer. Chauvin pleaded guilty to that charge in December.

The indictment further accused Thao and Kueng of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin’s use of unreasonable force. Thao, Kueng, and Lane were charged with failing to attend to Floyd’s medical needs.

Following a month-long trial, a jury found the officers guilty on all counts Thursday. The jury received the case Wednesday morning and deliberated for about 13 hours.

The three defendants will return to court at a later date for sentencing and remain out on bond.

Attorneys for the Floyd family said “George’s blood will forever stain” the three officers in a statement released after the verdict was read.

“Nothing will bring George Floyd back to his loved ones, but with these verdicts, we hope that the ignorance and indifference toward human life shown by these officers will be erased from our nation’s police departments, so no other family has to experience a loss like this,” they said.

Attorneys for Kueng and Lane argued that they were inexperienced and deferred to Chauvin, who was the senior officer on the scene. Lane’s attorney also pointed out that he was the one who called for an ambulance. Thao’s attorney said that he was focused on controlling the crowd of bystanders.

All three men testified during the trial. A state trial is scheduled for June on charges of aiding and abetting murder.