If he was found not guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd, or if the case resulted in a mistrial, the Justice Department allegedly had a contingency plan to arrest former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Minneapolis courthouse and charge him with civil rights violations.
Federal prosecutors had been building a police brutality case against Chauvin and the three other former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
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According to reports, under the contingency plan, the United States Attorney’s Office in Minnesota would have lodged a criminal complaint against Chauvin, allowing him to be arrested immediately.
On April 20, a state jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree accidental murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, so the “backup plan” was unnecessary.
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The DOJ is allegedly going on with its case now that the murder trial has concluded.
According to the Star Tribune, federal prosecutors would ask a grand jury to prosecute Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao for civil rights violations.
Last year, a grand jury made up of 23 people allegedly met in secret to hear federal authorities’ testimony and determine if there was probable cause to file charges.
According to The New York Times, a federal grand jury was appointed in Minneapolis in February.
According to Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s family, “George Floyd’s death sparked a revived and re-energized civil rights movement.”
“It is both fitting and gratifying that the Department of Justice, under President Biden’s leadership, is committed to racial justice.”
According to the Star Tribune, if the grand jury decides to convict the officers, they will face a new criminal trial in federal court.
Federal prosecutors are currently seeking indictments against all four officers in connection with Floyd’s murder, as well as Chauvin for his violent arrest of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.
According to The New York Times, the White House said in a February statement, “The president has spoken in personal terms about how the death of George Floyd influenced him and redoubled his dedication to advancing racial justice.”
“However, he has stated unequivocally that the Department of Justice must be able to operate independently in investigating and prosecuting crimes.