Four former Minneapolis police officers pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights charges in the shooting death of George Floyd last year on Tuesday.
Former officers Derek Chauvin, J. Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao entered their pleas in federal court via video during the hearing. Floyd’s rights were allegedly violated during his arrest on May 25, 2020, when Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes, killing him, according to a grand jury indictment.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison in June after being convicted of murdering Floyd on state charges. Kueng, Lane, and Thao are also charged with state charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, for which they have all pled not guilty.
Kueng, Lane, and Thao’s lawyers filed applications to have their trials split from Chauvin’s during Tuesday’s meeting. They claimed that because their clients were linked to Chauvin, who was convicted of Floyd’s murder, possible jurors might be convinced to convict them.
Floyd’s death spurred worldwide protests against racial bigotry and police brutality, and several law enforcement agencies were obliged to evaluate and alter their use-of-force policy as a result of his death.