Derek Chauvin, 45, is scheduled to appear in federal court via videoconference from Minnesota's maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, where he's being hauled as he awaits sentencing following his April certainty on murder and manslaughter charges.
The federal charges allege Chauvin violated Floyd's rights as he restrained him face-down while he had been handcuffed, not resisting and gasping for air. Three other former officers -- J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- face similar federal fees. Chauvin can be charged in a separate indictment alleging he violated the rights of a 14-year-old boy at 2017.
Floyd, 46, again stated he could not breathe as Chauvin trapped him into the floor. Kueng and Lane helped restrain Floyd -- Kueng knelt on Floyd's rear and Lane held down Floyd's legs. Thao held back bystanders and retained them out of intervening during the 9 1/2-moment restraint that has been captured on bystander movie and contributed to worldwide protests and calls for change in policing.
While all four officers are billed broadly with depriving Floyd of his rights while acting under government jurisdiction, the counts that title Chauvin allege he breached Floyd's right to be free of unreasonable seizure and from irrational force by a police officer. They also allege he and the others deprived Floyd of liberty without due process if they failed to supply him with medical attention.
Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, argued during Chauvin's murder trial that the officer acted reasonably and Floyd expired because of underlying health issues and drug usage. He's filed a petition for a new trial.
To bring federal charges in deaths involving police, prosecutors need to consider that an officer listened under the"color of law," or government authority, and willfully deprived somebody's constitutional rights. That's a high legal standard. An crash, bad judgment or simple negligence on the officer's part isn't sufficient to support national charges; prosecutors have to demonstrate that the officers understood what they were doing was incorrect in that instant but did it anyhow.
The national case sends a strong message regarding the Justice Department's priorities. After President Joe Biden was chosen, he promised he'd work to end disparities in the criminal justice system. Federal prosecutors have also brought hate crimes charges at the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, along with the Justice Department has established sweeping investigations into the police sections in Minneapolis and Louisville, Kentucky.
The other indictment against Chauvin alleges he deprived a then-14-year-old boy, that is Black, of his right to be free of unreasonable force when he held the teenager by the throat, then hit him in the head with a flashlight and held his knee onto the boy's neck and upper back while he was prone, handcuffed and not resisting.
According to a police report from that 2017 encounter, Chauvin wrote that the teen resisted arrest and after the teen, whom he described as 6-foot-2 and about 240 pounds, was handcuffed, Chauvin"used body weight to pin" him into the ground. The boy was bleeding from the ear and also needed two stitches.
That experience was among many cited in state court filings that prosecutors said revealed Chauvin had utilized head or neck and upper body restraints seven days before dating back to 2014. In four of those instances, state prosecutors said that he went and held that the restraints"past the point when such force was needed under the conditions."
Chauvin was convicted in April on state charges of second-degree accidental murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's departure. Experts say he will probably face no longer than 30 years in prison when he is sentenced June 25. If convicted in the federal situation, some federal sentence would be served at the same period as his sentence.
Another former officers face charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. They're free on bond and face state trial in March.