Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, but there is still another trial on the horizon — this time for the three other officers who were part of Floyd’s arrest last May.
As it stands now, the trial for former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, 27, Thomas Lane, 38, and Tou Thao, 35, is set to start on Aug. 23, with the men facing charges of aiding and abetting in the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd. If convicted, they could face more than 16 years in prison. A hearing is scheduled for May 20 at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, with the state attorney general’s office seeking to add a third-degree murder charge against Kueng, Lane, and Thao.
On May 25, 2020, the officers responded to a call at Cup Foods in Minneapolis, after it was reported that Floyd allegedly tried to pass a fake $20 bill. Footage of Floyd’s arrest shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, and prosecutors say Kueng, who graduated from the police academy in 2019, at one point was between Chauvin and Lane, kneeling on Floyd’s back. When Floyd became unresponsive, Kueng checked for a pulse, and reported that he couldn’t find one.
Lane, who had been on the police force for just a few days, was the officer who told Floyd to get out of his car, and placed handcuffs on him. Prosecutors say Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane all used their weight to keep Floyd on the ground, after he resisted attempts to get into the back of a police car. Lane asked at one point if they should roll Floyd over, and Chauvin responded, “No, staying put where we got him.”
Thao, who rejoined the force in 2012 after being laid off, arrived at Cup Foods with Chauvin, after Floyd had already been handcuffed. Prosecutors say that while Thao did not have any physical contact with Floyd, he could see how Floyd was being restrained, and did not try to intervene.
All of the officers were fired and arrested following Floyd’s death. Kueng, Lane, and Thao are now out on $750,000 bail. In January, their trial was split from Chauvin’s due to COVID-19 safety precautions.