Justice Department officials had prepared a secret “contingency plan” to arrest former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on federal police brutality charges if a jury found him not guilty of the murder of George Floyd, according to a new report.
Sources familiar with planning discussions told the Star Tribune that if Chauvin had been acquitted on all charges, or if a mistrial had been declared, he would have been arrested at the courthouse.
The Minnesota US Attorney’s Office would have reportedly hit Chauvin with a criminal complaint, arrested him immediately, and then asked a grand jury for an indictment, according to the anonymous sources.
However, Chauvin was in fact found guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter and the former Minneapolis police officer was immediately taken into custody and transferred to a max-security prison to await sentencing.
According to the Star Tribune, federal officials spent months gathering evidence against Chauvin and are planning to ask a grand jury to indict him and the other three ex-officers involved in Floyd’s killing on civil rights violations.
The three other police officers, Tou Thao, 35; Thomas Lane, 38; and J Alexander Kueng, 27, were present when Floyd died following his arrest in the city last year. The officers all face charges of aiding and abetting Chauvin.
TheStar Tribune said that prosecutors also want to indict Chauvin on charges relating to a 2017 incident when the officer was said to have pinned a 14-year-old Black boy to the ground with his knee for 17 minutes.
Prosecutors wanted to use the past case as evidence in the Floyd case but the plan was ultimately rejected. Chauvin’s defence attorney, Eric Nelson, argued that the force used was in keeping with the department’s then-policy on dealing with uncooperative suspects.
The other three ex-officers would be charged only in connection with Floyd’s murder. The federal case will be prosecuted by Justice Department attorneys in Minnesota and Washington, DC, the Star Tribune reported.
The Minnesota US Attorney’s Office and the US Department of Justice declined to comment when contacted by The Independent.
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