According to the indictments, announced on Friday, the four men are accused of violating Floyd's constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air in Minnesota last year. Chauvin, Thao and Kueng are specifically charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force, HuffPost reports. However, all four officers are also charged for failing to provide medical care to the 46-year-old.
"The defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd," the indictment states, according to CNN.
Chauvin, who was convicted last month on state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death, is also facing a second indictment for allegedly using a neck restraint on a 14-year-old boy in 2017, as Blavity previously reported. According to the Justice Department, the former officer "held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight."
Chauvin is currently staying in a Minnesota maximum-security prison as he awaits sentencing. The three other former officers, who appeared with their attorneys in federal court Friday via video conference, face a state trial in August. They are currently free on bond.
Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground last year, placing his knee on the 46-year-old's neck for nine minutes. Kueng and Lane also helped restrain the Minnesota man while Thao held back bystanders.
Rev. Al Sharpton applauded the federal indictment, saying "we have a Justice Department that deals with police criminality and does not excuse it."
"For many years we have tried to get the federal government to make it clear that these crimes are not only state crimes but violate civil rights on a federal level when police engage in this kind of behavior," Sharpton stated. "What we couldn't get them to do in the case of Eric Garner, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and countless others, we are finally seeing them do today and this is a significant development for those of us who have been engaged in the struggle and police reform movement."