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Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck until he stopped breathing while bystanders watched in horror, has been charged with murder and manslaughter. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the arrest on Friday.
“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is in custody…has been charged with murder and with manslaughter,” Freeman said. He promised to release a detailed report and insisted that the evidence against Chauvin includes the citizen’s camera with the “horrible horrific terrible thing we’ve all seen over and over again,” the officer’s body-cam footage, statements from witnesses and the coroner, and more. “We felt in our professional judgment it was time to charge and we have so done,” said Freeman.
Derek Chauvin won’t be the only one charged
Freeman also said he expected to bring charges against the other officers involved but did not yet have information on what those charges would be.
Chauvin was arrested after several nights of rioting in the streets of Minneapolis that saw several buildings burned to the ground including a low-income housing unit, and many stores looted and vandalized. At one point, the protesters took over the police precinct as officers retreated.
Police originally stopped Floyd because he was suspected of using a forged $20 bill in a store. A bystander’s video shows Floyd on the ground, not appearing to resist, as an officer kneels on his neck for almost eight minutes. During the agonizingly long footage, Floyd can be heard struggling to breathe and asking for help. Three other officers in the footage appear to do nothing as they stand there controlling the crowd while a man lay dying. In the video, Chauvin did not remove his knee until Floyd was completely limp. George Floyd was then carried away on a stretcher.
All four officers in the video have been fired.
Floyd wouldn’t have wanted riots
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross, told the Star Tribune that Floyd was a gentle giant and would be saddened by the riots and violence. “Waking up this morning to see Minneapolis on fire would be something that would devastate Floyd,” Ross said. “He loved the city. He came here [from Houston] and stayed here for the people and the opportunities. Floyd was a gentle giant. He was about love and about peace.”