All four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd have now been charged with murder, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has taken over the case, said on Wednesday. Three of the officers involved were charged with aiding and abetting a second-degree murder. The charges against the officer who choked Floyd for nearly nine minutes were also raised from third-degree murder to second-degree murder.
“I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state,” Ellison said at a press conference, noting that the case is still under investigation and he would be limiting public comments about the investigation. “George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His family was important. His life had value and we will seek justice for him and for you.”
Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department last week. Chauvin, the white officer who choked Floyd with his knee, was first arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter last Friday.
On Monday, the Hennepin County medical examiner said that Floyd died of a heart attack but the “manner of death” was a homicide. Hours earlier, an independent autopsy conducted at the request of the Floyd family ruled that the cause of death was a “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”
Based on the findings of the independent autopsy, an attorney for the Floyd family called for a first-degree murder charge against Chauvin.
“What we know is this: George Floyd was alive before his encounter with Derek Chauvin and his fellow officers, and he was dead shortly after that,” the attorney, Ben Crump, said on Monday. “The tragic cause of this death is incredibly clear, and we are fiercely committed to justice for his family.”