Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in mid-April on all charges stemming from the May 2020 murder of Minnesota resident George Floyd, who died after Chauvin refused to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck, despite pleas that he could not breathe. The death prompted outrage and reignited nationwide calls for police reform.
Newly surfaced reports have revealed that officials with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) intended to arrest and charge Chauvin with civil rights violations if he was found not guilty for Floyd’s in-custody death.
Citing sources familiar with the case, the Minnesota Star Tribune recently reported that DoJ officials had a contingency plan in place that would have seen Chauvin charged via a criminal complaint in the event that he was either found not guilty on all counts or a mistrial was declared. A subsequent move would have been to then seek a grand jury indictment.
That plan, which would have seen federal officials immediately take Chauvin into custody at the courthouse, never materialized on account of the guilty verdicts brought down by the jury on April 20. However, that’s not to say officials have abandoned their plans entirely, either.
The Star Tribune’s findings indicate that federal prosecutors are now planning to obtain a grand jury indictment against Chauvin and three other former cops – J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – who were involved in the fatal encounter.