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Federal trial begins for 3 ex-Minneapolis officers accused in George Floyd's death

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Federal trial begins for 3 ex-Minneapolis officers accused in George Floyd's death
Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis, Minn., as jury deliberations begin in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 19, 2021. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Three former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the arrest that led to the death of George Floyd almost two years ago will formally begin their federal trial on Thursday.

The proceedings for Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane -- who were present when former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes during the arrest -- will officially begin with jury selection.

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The trio, who played secondary roles in Floyd's death, face federal civil rights charges in the case. Federal prosecutors are expected to argue that the three men failed to intervene when Floyd repeatedly told them that he couldn't breathe.

Floyd eventually died and Chauvin was found guilty in state court last April on murder and manslaughter charges. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.

A state trial against Thao, Keung and Lane, in which they are accused of aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd's death, is scheduled to go to trial on June 13.

During the federal trial, prosecutors must prove that the three officers willfully violated Floyd's civil rights, Brennan Center for Justice counsel Hernandez Stroud told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

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"That's an incredibly stringent standard and won't be easy to prove," Stroud said.

Chauvin pleaded guilty last month to two federal charges of violating Floyd's civil rights. He has yet to be sentenced.

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