Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has taken the unusual step of elevating the charges leveled against the former police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck until he died, and will charge the other three officers who were on the scene with aiding and abetting murder. Former officer Derek Chauvin will now be charged with second-degree murder for crushing George Floyd’s neck with his knee for eight and a half minutes while the man begged for air. When Chauvin was first taken into custody on Friday, he was charged with third-degree murder.
Onlooker footage captured the other officers, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, either helping Chauvin keep Floyd pinned to the ground or standing by, ignoring the cries of onlookers begging Chauvin to let Floyd breathe.
“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” said a joint statement by Floyd’s family and their attorney Ben Crump. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.”
“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest,” the family’s and Crump’s statement continued. “That is a source of peace for George’s family in this painful time.”
The announcement followed Tuesday’s revelation that the state of Minnesota will be bringing human rights charges against the Minneapolis police department, including an investigation into the last decade of police practices.