The former Minneapolis Police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck was charged with second-degree murder and the three other officers on scene during his killing are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, according to court documents.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s official announcement of the charges is expected to come Wednesday afternoon, more than a week after Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, sparking nationwide protests that call for the end to police violence against black citizens.
The three other officers on scene, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, who had his knee pressed into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, had previously been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Lane and Keung, who helped restrain Floyd, and Thao, who stood near the others, were not initially charged.
Two autopsies on Floyd determined that he died by homicide. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired the four officers and said they were “complicit” in Floyd’s death. Floyd’s family and protesters nationwide have called for them to be arrested and convicted for the killing.
According to the video and the criminal complaint, Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe, as witnesses protested that he was dying, and even as Lane twice asked to turn him onto his side. Still, Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for almost three minutes after Floyd became unresponsive, the complaint states.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, said on Twitter that the family was gratified with the new charges.
Police officers are rarely charged with crimes for violence against black men, and even in those rare cases, juries have repeatedly shown an unwillingness to convict. The list of such failed cases is long.
In 2017, for example, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Castile was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.