A federal grand jury has handed up indictments of Derek Chauvin and his three former colleagues for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. I inferred from the leak underlying Andy Mannix’s April 29 Star Tribune story that the federal civil rights investigation was originally undertaken as a backstop to the state criminal prosecution of the officers in the event that Chauvin and his former colleagues were acquitted, but such is not the case.
Now Derek Chauvin has been convicted of Floyd’s murder and the three other officers face trial on related state charges. The federal charges aggravate the fair trial issue faced by the three other officers in the scheduled trial of their state case this August. All four officers are charged for Floyd’s death in the three-count federal indictment.
Chauvin is also charged on a separate two-count indictment resulting from a 2017 incident, but everything else overlaps with the state criminal proceedings. If it weren’t for Floyd and the political dictates of the hour, is there any doubt that the Biden Justice Department and the United States Attorney for Minnesota would have remained uninterested in the 2017 incident?
A few minutes ago the local office of the United States Attorney forwarded its press release announcing the new charges via email. I have embedded it below via Scribd. It makes out no federal interest to be served in the case over and above the state criminal prosecutions. The press release states only this:
The charges announced today are also separate from, and in addition to, the charges the State of Minnesota has brought against these former officers related to the death of Mr. Floyd. The federal charges allege different criminal offenses; specifically, they allege violations of the U.S. Constitution, rather than of state law.
Well, thank you for the explanation. However, I wonder if such a case has ever been brought when the perpetrators have already been convicted or have yet to be tried in pending state criminal proceedings. I may be missing something, but I am unaware of relevant precedent. Absent relevant precedent or further explanation, I can only comment that I find this aspect of the case performative and abusive.