The Justice Department is investigating the actions of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for his part in the murder of George Floyd.
According to new reporting from The New York Times, a grand jury has been convened to consider federal charges against Chauvin, who, along with three other former Minneapolis officers, is awaiting trial in Minnesota. Chauvin is expected to sit for trial in March, for the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd.
The federal investigation into the violation of George Floyd’s civil rights will automatically trigger if Chauvin is acquitted or if there is a mistrial in the state trial.
Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25, 2020. The resulting in his death was captured on video by a local teen. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao helped to restrain Floyd.
Floyd’s murder sparked a summer of global protests against police brutality and violence in the United States.
The federal charge that Chauvin violated Floyd’s civil rights is not based on race, but the idea that he “willfully” violated Floyd’s constitutional rights, specifically the “right to due process.”
According to the Times report, the federal grand jury is focused Chauvin’s actions against Floyd in particular because he was the senior officer
In a statement of response to the report, Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Floyd family says, “George Floyd’s death spurred a renewed and re-energized civil rights movement. It’s appropriate and gratifying that the Department of Justice under President Biden is taking racial justice seriously.”
The White House, Under the helm of President Joe Biden has released a statement in the matter and its “renewed commitment” to racial justice.
“The president has spoken in personal terms about how the death of George Floyd affected him and redoubled his commitment to advancing racial justice, but he’s also made clear that he firmly believes that the Department of Justice must be able to act independently in investigating and prosecuting any case.”
If confirmed, the Floyd case will fall under the supervision of Merrick Garland who said during his confirmation hearing, “I think it is plain to me that there is discrimination and widespread disparate treatment of communities of color and other ethnic minorities in this country.”