All four Minneapolis police officers charged following their involvement in George Floyd kneeling death. Derek Chauvin murder charge upped, 3 other cops booked as accomplices to murder.
A former Minneapolis cop previously charged with 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter for kneeling on black man, George Floyd‘s neck has had his murder charge upgraded. Prosecutors also announced on Wednesday, the three other ex-cops present at the scene, charged as accomplices.
Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, while Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Kiernan Lane were charged with aiding and abetting murder, CNN said, citing court documents filed Wednesday afternoon.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the three alleged accomplices, CNN reported. All four officers were fired last week following public outcry after video of the incident went viral.
Under Minnesota law, second-degree murder covers deaths caused ‘with intent … but without premeditation’ and is punishable by up to 40 years in prison. Chauvin previously had faced up to 25 years max prison time for 3rd degree murder.
All four officers now face the potential of up to 40 years jail each.
About face following public outcry
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison was expected to discuss the legal action at a press conference later in the day.
The latest development in the case comes four days after Gov. Tim Walz put Ellison in charge of the case, replacing Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
On Thursday, Freeman had said he wouldn’t ‘rush’ to file charges in Floyd’s death, which came after Chauvin, who is white, was recorded kneeling for nearly nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, who was black.
At the time, Freeman called the cellphone video ‘graphic, and horrific, and terrible’ but added that ‘there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.’
Demand for justice
But in the wake of violent protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere around the country on Thursday night, Freeman reversed course on Friday and charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The upgrade in murder charge along with the indictment of three other cops follows activists and protesters demanding a harsher charge against Chauvin and charges against the other officers present at the scene.
Demands followed a released state medical report which did not explicitly outlay the cause of death as asphyxiation at the hands of Chauvin, with an independent autopsy finding evidence to the contrary. The autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family says compression to the neck and back, caused by the officer kneeling on him, led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.
News of the upped charge and charges against the three former Minneapolis cops led to Floyd family attorney, Benjamin Crump, posting on Twitter: ‘This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that @AGEllison took decisive action, arresting and charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder. #JusticeForGeorge.’
Quincy Mason Floyd, George Floyd’s son, said in an interview on CNN after news of the charges broke: ‘We demand justice. My father shouldn’t have been killed like this. We want justice.’