Officer Derek Chauvin was fired on May 26th and initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The three other officers involved were also fired but were not immediately charged. Which led to indignation among the citizens, whom later on started demonstrating to call out for justice.
Today after a week of protests which turned America upside down, the other three have finally been charged.
Chauvin’s charge got upgraded
This Wednesday officer Chauvin was charged with a new, more serious count of unintentional second-degree murder. While the other three officers on the scene were finally charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
This announcement came more than a week after Floyd was killed while in police custody. Which sparked nationwide protests that call for the end to police violence against black citizens.
The new charges against Chauvin says that he killed Floyd “without intent” in the course of commiting assault in the third degree, according to an amended complaint.
Thomas Lane (37) and J. Alexander Kueng (26), who helped restrain Floyd, and Tou Thao (34), who stood near the others, are now charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and is being held at the Minnesota Department of Corrections facility in Oak Park. His bail was increased to $1 million Wednesday, court documents show.
Lane, Kueng and Thao were taken into custody Wednesday and are being held on $1 million bail, county jail records show.
Second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree murder are punishable by up to 40 years in prison.
Manslaughter and aiding and abetting manslaughter are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The family’s reaction
The attorney for the Floyd family stated on Twitter that the family was gratified with the new charges:
This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that (Ellison) took decisive action, arresting and charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd’s death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.George Floyd’s family
Charges were not influenced by the protests
At the press conference, Ellison insisted that the protests did not influence the charges. He stated that the decisions, were based on the facts gathered and the charges were made based on the law they thought that applied to the situation.
Former congressman, Ellison had cautioned against a rush to judgement, citing the difficulty of prosecuting police officers.
Officers are rarely charged 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.
Even though they’re confident in their case, history shows that it’s not going to be easy to make these charges stick.
Governor Tim Walz stated that the new charges are a meaningful step both toward justice for George Floyd, as for the other tragic incidents that have occurred or will occur in the future.
“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. We owe that much to George Floyd, and we owe that much to each other.”
Video #1: Breaking News – Short to the point with debate and explanation of the situation
Video #2: Press conference announcing the arrest of all four officers (Ellison).