Derek Chauvin Charge Upgraded To 2nd-Degree Murder In Death Of George Floyd, 3 Other Offices Face Charges
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on George Floyd‘s neck for nearly nine minutes, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder on Wednesday. The other three responding officers were also charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that he was upgrading the charge against Chauvin from third-degree to second-degree murder Wednesday afternoon.
“I believe the evidence available to us now supports the stronger charge of second-degree murder,” Ellison said. He added that charging the other officers “are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state.”
All four officers were fired from the department after a video showed Chauvin pinning Floyd, who was already handcuffed, to the ground with his knee. While Floyd cried out that he couldn’t breathe and bystanders urged the officer to get off him, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng did not intervene.
Those three officers are scheduled to appear in court Thursday at 12:45 p.m.
The video sparked outrage and prompted people to take to the streets nationwide to protest Floyd’s death and systematic racism.
The family, who had been pushing for first-degree murder charges to be brought against all four officers, praised the new developments.
A first-degree murder charge would require the killing to be premeditated.
“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” a statement released by the family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, read. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder. This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest.“
Minnesota sentencing guidelines indicate two separate possibilities for intentional and unintentional second-degree murder. The guidelines recommend 25.5 years in prison for second-degree murder with intent and 12.5 years without intent.
Chauvin still faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges, according to WCCO.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called the additional charges a “meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd.”
“The charges announced by Attorney General Keith Ellison today are a meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd,” Walz said in a statement. “But we must also recognize that the anguish driving protests around the world is about more than one tragic incident. George Floyd’s death is the symptom of a disease. We will not wake up one day and have the disease of systemic racism cured for us. This is on each of us to solve together, and we have hard work ahead.”
He added: “We owe that much to George Floyd, and we owe that much to each other.”