Derek Chauvin, Officer Who Kneeled On George Floyd’s Neck, Charged With Third-Degree Murder
Derek Chauvin, the police officer filmed pinning George Floyd to the ground with his knee, was charged Friday with murder after days of protests and unrest in Minneapolis and across the United States.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He also said additional charges were possible.
Officers were responding to a call about an alleged forgery in progress when the incident occurred.
According to a transcript released by the city on Thursday, a 911 caller described an “awfully drunk” man paying at a grocery store with a counterfeit bill. Police said Floyd matched the caller’s description.
Four officers responded to the scene. Cellphone video footage shows a handcuffed Floyd pleading that he couldn’t breathe as Chauvin held him down and the other three officers ignored pleas from bystanders to get off him.
“Please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd said. “… My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts.”
He later said, “Give me some water or something. Please. Please.”
Freeman said the other three officers are still under investigation, but that authorities “felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”
All four officers were fired from the department Tuesday.
The news of the murder charge against Chauvin comes the days after protestors burned down the precinct where the officers worked. In the days leading up to the fire, other buildings were set on fire and neighboring stores were looted as protestors demanded murder charges be brought against the officers.
The National Guard was brought in Thursday to reestablish order.
Gen. Jon Jensen, the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard specified during a news conference that his Guardsmen were stationed to protect the state capitol building, to provide security at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center, to provide security at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and to escort fire department personnel into “unsecure” and “dangerous” areas.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) underscored the pain those suffering were feeling on Friday, adding that the ashes from fires that protestors set were “symbolic.”
“Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said. “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world — and the world is watching.”
Protests spread across the country as demonstrators in New York, Columbus, Denver and other cities took to the streets to express outrage over years of police brutality against the African American community. In St. Paul, nearly 200 businesses were damaged or looted.
President Donald Trump condemned the protestors on Twitter as “thugs,” and wrote that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Twitter flagged the tweet for “glorifying violence,” but did not take it down.