Second trial at Floyd murder center over conflict of duty, code


“This sends a real message to counterbalance that very strong set of cultures in terms of security controls,” said Jonathan Smith, former director of the police’s citizenship claims division. .

The federal charges require prosecutors to prove former officers intentionally deprived Floyd of his constitutional rights — meaning they knew what they did was wrong and continued.

Chauvin was found guilty of murder and state manslaughter last year and pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges. Kueng, Lane and Thao also face a separate state trial on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Local police departments and prosecutors have their own means of punishing officers who do not interfere. But the examples stand out showing the extent of risk, both personally and professionally, to officers who intervene or who cooperate with fellow officers’ investigations.

In Chicago, a key police witness against three Chicago officers accused of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald testified that she was mocked by fellow officers as a “rat” who says that her calls for assistance while on duty should be ignored.

In Florida late last year, an officer with less than three years of experience pulled a sergeant by his belt away from a handcuffed suspect, apparently fearing he was about to pepper the man. . The sergeant, a 21-year veteran, grabbed the officer – at one point placing his hand in her throat.

And in Buffalo, New York, Police Officer Cariol Horne was fired in 2008 after an arbitration process ruled that she put other officers in danger when she stopped an officer had his arm around the neck of a handcuffed suspect.

The Florida official drew her chief’s support to step in, though his public comments came only a day after. Miami TV published the video of the conflict. Horne, the Buffalo officer, was eventually granted a pension – but only after a protracted fight in court and push for a change in state law.

Floyd’s May 2020 murder has prompted many police leaders to increase their own training on officers’ duties to intervene when an officer puts someone in danger.

As of mid-2020, 21 of the country’s 100 largest police departments have adopted officer intervention duties policies, and lawmakers in 12 states have passed similar legislation, according to the Force. Criminal Justice Council Policy Task Force.

Minneapolis added the “obligation to intervene” policy in 2016. Days after Floyd was murdered, city officials agreed to strengthen it. The state Department of Human Rights can now take the Minneapolis Police Department to court for any violation.

Joseph Giacalone, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired New York police sergeant, said officers know the consequences of federal prosecution go far beyond internal sanctions. .

“The police know that there is no limit to what the federal government can do,” Giacalone said. “I certainly think that now the danger of federal charges is in mind.”

Federal civil rights violations that result in death can be punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty, but those sentences are extremely rare. Federal sentencing guidelines based on complex formulas suggest that the officers in Floyd’s murder would be far less likely to be convicted.

In opening remarks to jurors in the Floyd case, Kueng’s defense attorney noted that Chauvin was the most senior officer present and called “all shots”. Over the weekend, attorneys sought to show the department had instilled a sense of compliance in its hires and failed to devise effective interventions when force was abused.

For some experts, the case’s attention to Kueng, Lane and Thao represents another opportunity to get individual police officers and department leaders involved and potentially prevent wrongdoing. dangerous fruit that erodes trust in the profession as a whole.

“We couldn’t stop and think it was just Chauvin,” said Kami Chavis, a professor at Wake Forest University School of Law. “Typically, in a police department, there is a small percentage of officers who will behave that way. But when that small group is allowed to go unchecked, you are passing on information to others about what culture is and this is tolerated. “


Associated Press writer Mohamed Ibrahim in Minneapolis contributed. Second trial at Floyd murder center over conflict of duty, code


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