MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The former Minneapolis police officer seen kneeling on George Floyd’s neck before his death has now been charged with the man's murder.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday afternoon that ex-officer Derek Chauvin has been taken into custody and charged with 3rd degree murder, as well as manslaughter.
Watch Freeman announce the charges against Chauvin in the press conference below:
Chauvin is one of four officers who have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department for their alleged role in Floyd’s death. Freeman said he expects charges to be filed against the other officers as well, but his team felt it was "appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator."
Chauvin’s arrest comes less than a day after Freeman and other officials asked the public to give them time to make a charging decision in the case. During the Thursday press conference, Freeman actually told reporters, “There is other evidence that doesn’t support a criminal charge.”
Now, Freeman says his team has enough evidence to charge.
“We have now been able to put together the evidence that we need. Even as late as yesterday afternoon, we didn’t have all that we needed. We have now found it and have felt a responsibility to charge this as soon as possible," Freeman said Friday.
Below is the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin:
The charges against Chauvin stem from Floyd's arrest on Monday after a grocery store employee called the police to report someone trying to pass a counterfeit bill. A 10-minute video of Floyd’s arrest soon circulated online.
In the video shot by a bystander, an officer identified as Chauvin is seen pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck while the man gasps for air with his face against the pavement. Floyd then lost consciousness and was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Protests have popped up across the United States since Floyd’s death, with people calling for justice for the 46-year-old man.
For the past three nights, protesters have grown increasingly violent. And on Thursday, demonstrators torched one of the Minneapolis police stations that the department had abandoned.
During a Friday press conference, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called for swift justice in the case and for the public to help restore order to the state, so they can begin to address the systemic issues at hand.
“We have to restore order to our society before we can start addressing the issues. Before we turn back to where we should be spending our energy, making sure that justice is served, justice is served swiftly, that we learn something from what George Floyd gave on Monday," said Walz.
Walz said the events of this week are the result of the “decades and generations of pain, of anguish” over apparent racism in policing. He also brought up another black man killed in a police incident – Philando Castile.
“Much like we failed to hear George Floyd as he pleaded for his life as the world watched, by people sworn to protect him, his community, our state, Philando Castile, silenced unheard,” said Walz. “So many other friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, senselessly died in our street. Their voices went unheard, and now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world and the world is watching."
U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued this statement regarding the case:
“The video images of the incident that ended with death of Mr. Floyd, while in custody of Minneapolis police officers, were harrowing to watch and deeply disturbing. The state prosecutor has been in the process of determining whether any criminal charges are appropriate under state law. On a separate and parallel track, the Department of Justice, including the FBI, are conducting an independent investigation to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated. Both state and federal officers are working diligently and collaboratively to ensure that any available evidence relevant to these decisions is obtained as quickly as possible. Under our system, charging decisions must be, and will be, based on the law and facts. This process is proceeding quickly. As is the typical practice, the state’s charging decisions will be made first. I am confident justice will be served.”