In the case that turned the world’s eyes (and cameras) onto the Black Lives Matter movement, four former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights will be arraigned in federal court.
Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao were indicted back in May, according to the Associated Press, and all are scheduled to appear in the hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning. Typically at federal arraignment hearings, non-guilty pleas are entered and charges are read to the defendant. The AP notes that there could also be some pretrial motions addressed.
Prosecutors and attorneys for the former officers could also argue several motions on Tuesday.
Among them, Kueng and Thao have asked that their federal trials be separated from Chauvin’s, saying they would be unfairly prejudiced if they went to trial alongside him. Lane asked to join that request, which is being opposed by prosecutors. It wasn’t immediately clear if that issue will come up at Tuesday’s hearing, because both sides have agreed the request was premature and have asked to set it aside until more information develops, according to court documents.
The federal indictment alleges Chauvin violated Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer. Thao and Kueng are charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure by not intervening to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. All four officers are also charged with depriving Floyd of his rights when they failed to provide him with medical care.
In April, The Root reported Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder in Floyd’s death and sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison.
NBC affiliate KARE reports that Chauvin is currently being held in Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison, Oak Park Heights. Chauvin is also facing a second federal indictment in another case involving his use-of-force and a neck restraint on a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
Thao, Kueng and Lane also face state charges of aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter for their alleged involvement in Floyd’s death, KARE notes. That trial is scheduled for March 2022.
AP reports that the Minneapolis police force is currently undergoing a “pattern or practice” investigation by the federal government. The investigation will examine whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing practices, according to AP.