Supporting roles in a drama that shook the world, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane appear free in federal court in Saint Paul, in the northern United States, to
violation of civil rights of the black forties.
On May 25, 2020, they
watched the slow, painful agony of Mr. Floyd, argued prosecutor Samantha Trepel. The latter, who was suffocating under the knee of their colleague Derek Chauvin,
repeated 25 times: “I can’t breathe” to alert them, but they knowingly
selected not to intervene, she said.
“In your custody” implies “under your responsibility”: this is a basic principle taught to every police officer., she added. Cornminutes and 29seconds, the defendants ignored their formation”,”text”:”for 9minutes and 29seconds, the defendants ignored their formation”}}’>for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the defendants ignored their training, their responsibility and their oath.
The lawyers for the three men, in turn, disputed that they had
deliberately decided to let George Floyd die. For them, they logically trusted Derek Chauvin, the
game leader to 19 years of career, in a situation
On the day of the tragedy, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, two new Minneapolis police recruits, were called by a merchant who suspected George Floyd of having used a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for a pack of cigarettes.
As they struggled to get this imposing man into their vehicle, they were joined by two experienced agents.
The four had quickly tackled the African-American to the ground, handcuffed. Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, the two newcomers at his side, while Tou Thao kept the panicked passers-by at a distance.
They hadn’t moved despite the groans of the forties and his loss of consciousness.
The scene, filmed and posted online, sparked huge protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and beyond, and continues to fuel reflection on America’s racist past.
In June, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison by a Minnesota state court.
Complicity in murder and violation of civil rights
His three colleagues will be tried in this context from June 13 for
complicity in murder.
At the same time, federal prosecutors charged the four officers for
violation of civil rights of George Floyd, including freedom and security. These double prosecutions are authorized in the United States, but relatively rare, and reflect the importance of this extraordinary file.
In December, Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty in this federal part, admitting for the first time a share of responsibility in the drama.
His three colleagues pleaded not guilty. They are all accused of not having brought the necessary help to the forties despite the signs of medical distress.
Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng are also being criticized for not having intervened to dissuade Derek Chauvin from
exert unreasonable force.
Thomas Lane, who had twice suggested positioning the African-American on his flank, is not targeted by this charge.
On Monday, their lawyers acknowledged the seriousness of the events. Corn
a tragedy is not a crime, underlined Robert Paule, who defends Tou Thao.
They particularly insisted on the lack of experience of agents Kueng and Lane, deployed in the field for only a few days and who, in total, did not have five patrols to their credit.
Derek Chauvin had participated in the training of Alexander Kueng, added the latter’s lawyer.May 2020″,”text”:”Evidence will show that he took over the scene on May 25, 2020″}}”>Evidence will show he took over the scene on May 25, 2020, added Me Thomas Plunkett, calling him a
The trial could last four weeks.