Officers involved in George Floyd’s murder are all facing charges
Last week the world watched in horror as now ex-cop Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, ultimately killing him. In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, neither Chauvin nor the other three cops who stood by and witnessed it were arrested or charged. Then, folks across the country called and emailed the mayor, the DA, and the Minneapolis police, demanding the termination and prosecution of the four cops involved. Initially, Chauvin was charged with third degree murder but now Chauvin’s charges are being increased and the three other officers have been charged as well.
According to CNBC, court documents reveal that the three officers who witnessed Chauvin’s actions have been criminally charged and those records also show Chauvin’s murder charge has been elevated to second degree murder. Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison took over the prosecution, which was previously led by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, and according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the case, the Star Tribune reports that former officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane will be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. It’s expected that Ellison will provide an official update on the situation later today, though Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has already spoken out.
“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” Floyd’s family and their attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement. “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.”
Four arrests in connection with Floyd’s death is a start, but last week’s events only reminded us that police violence against black men is a pandemic in this country and it’s going to take more than retroactive arrests to make it stop.
However, the tide is beginning to change. On Tuesday, June, 2, 2020 the entire state of Minnesota filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department. Governor Tim Walz announced the probe, telling reporters “The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is filing a commissioner’s charge of discrimination to launch a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.”
“The investigation will review MPD’s policies, procedures and practices over the last 10 years to determine if the department has utilized systemic discriminatory practices towards people of color,” Walz added (via NBC News).
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey applauded the actions in a statement, confirming how difficult it’s been to hold the police accountable.
“For years in Minneapolis, police chiefs and elected officials committed to change have been thwarted by police union protections and laws that severely limit accountability among police departments,” he stated.
The state of Minnesota hopes to have findings from the probe in several months.
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