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3 Minneapolis Ex-Cops Guilty of Violating George Floyd's Civil Rights

The three were convicted of failing to aid Floyd as fellow officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

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A man kneels in 2020 in front of a memorial and mural that honors George Floyd in the Houston neighborhood where Floyd grew up.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Three former Minneapolis police officers were found guilty on Thursday of violating George Floyd's civil rights by failing to aid him as a fellow officer knelt on Floyd's neck, ultimately killing him.

A federal jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, found Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane guilty of depriving Floyd, who was Black, of his right to medical care as officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pinned a hand-cuffed Floyd beneath his knee for more than nine minutes on a street on May 25, 2020. Thao and Kueng were also found guilty of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin.

Floyd's smartphone-recorded death sparked a wave of protests against police brutality and focused the nation's attention on racial inequality.

Conviction of a federal charge of violating a person's civil rights that results in death is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty, though sentencing guidelines suggest a lesser punishment. The three former officers remain free on bail pending their sentencing hearing, which hasn't been scheduled.

Chauvin was sentenced in 2021 to 22.5 years in prison following his conviction on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He plead guilty in December to violating Floyd's constitutional rights.

The May 2020 killing galvanized a racial justice movement in the US as smartphone video of Floyd's fatal encounter with Chauvin spread across the internet. Darnella Frazier, the teenager who captured the killing, was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for the video earlier in 2021.

The protests, some organized by Black Lives Matter, drew up to 26 million people globally and prompted business leaders to make unusually strong statements in response to calls for racial justice.