Prosecutors today upgraded a charge of second degree murder against former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. After several days of ignoring the role of the other members of the Police department at the scene on the street on Memorial Day, new charges of “aiding and abetting” were also filed against the three other officers who were there.
The charges were filed in Hennepin County District Court.
Captured on video to be fatally kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the victim cried out he could not breathe, Chauvin was arrested on May 29. He was initially charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars. On Wednesday, Minnesota’s Attorney Genera Keith Ellison brought the new charges. He is expected to address the situation further in a press conference this afternoon to announce the new developments.
At a previous press conference in the protest filled city, Ellison, who took lead on the case on May 31, said, “I believe the evidence available now supports the stronger charge.”
The three other officers at the scene, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, are being charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder, according to the Star Tribune. They also were at the scene. Lane and Kueng were involved in restraining Floyd, and Thao stood nearby. Like Chauvin, they also were fired afterward.
The killing of Floyd has sparked protests against racism and police violence across the country. The first of a trio of memorial events for Floyd will be tomorrow in Minneapolis, with more to follow in South Carolina and Houston, Texas over the next few days.
The Department of Justice also is conducting an investigation into Floyd’s death.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Floyd’s family, tweeted about the new charges. “FAMILY’S REACTION: This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that @AGEllison took decisive action, arresting & charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd‘s death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder. #JusticeForGeorge”.
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