Ex-police officers found guilty in murder of George Floyd
Three police officers enabled Derek Chauvin's murderous act.
Three ex-policemen who were present at the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis denied the unarmed man his civil rights, according to findings by a jury.
The policemen were charged with expressing "deliberate indifference [Floyd's] serious medical needs" during the arrest that happened in May 2020, when Derek Chauvin kept kneeling on Floyd's neck while the latter couldn't breathe and soon died as a result.
The three policemen, Tou Thao, 36, J Alexander Kueng, 28, and Thomas Lane, 38, testified in their defense in the trial, arguing that they did not realize Floyd needed medical assistance at the time.
Prosecutors suggested that each man serve 25 years in federal prison - Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd's neck for over 9 minutes, is serving a 22-and-a-half-year sentence.
The video footage which went viral showed Keung and Lane helping Chauvin hold Floyd down - Thao, meanwhile, kept bystanders away. Chauvin was Keung and Lane's field training officer.
Prosecutors argued that "human decency and common sense" should've deterred the three men from continuing what they were doing, and to take the necessary measures that could've prevented the death.
"It wasn't a split-second use of force like a gunshot. Not 30 seconds, not a minute, several minutes - 569 seconds," said Assistant US Attorney Manda Sertich.
Thao, when asked why he did not tell Chauvin to get his knee off Floyd's neck, responded with "I think I would trust a 19-year veteran to figure it out."
Racism is deeply rooted in law enforcement in the United States; with police force brutality heavily affecting the Black community in the US.
In November 2021, Minneapolis voted not to dissolve and replace the police department.
Precincts throughout the state recorded tallies, reporting that over 56% of voters were against amending the Minneapolis Police Charter to establish a new department, which would provide “public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach,” according to official election results.
Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Democrat mayor, was among those who opposed the police department reform, embracing the results of the vote. The mayor is running for a second term in the state.
"We need deep, structural change to policing in America," Frey told supporters, according to The Washington Post. He continued, "At the same time, we need police officers to make sure that they are working directly with the community to keep us safe."
Read more: Black History Month: Black oppression in the United States
The crime scene
Floyd's death was filmed by a bystander and sparked months of protests in the United States against racial injustice and police brutality.
Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane were the three other officers on the scene as Floyd was being taken into custody for allegedly using a fake $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.
While Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck, Kueng was on his back and Lane held his legs.
Thao kept bystanders, who were telling Chauvin to get off the visibly distressed Floyd, from getting any closer to the scene.
Kueng, who is Black, took the witness stand on Wednesday and Thursday and defended his actions.
He said Chauvin, an 18-year veteran of the force who had been one of his training officers, was "my senior officer, and I trusted his advice."