MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota prosecutor has charged a police officer with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the restraint death of George Floyd.
Floyd is the handcuffed black man whose cries of “I can’t breathe” in a widely seen cellphone video set off days of violent protest in Minneapolis and around the country.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday that he may yet bring more charges against the officer, Derek Chauvin.
The white officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes in the video. Floyd can be seen gradually becoming motionless as Chauvin and three other officers ignored bystanders’ shouts to get off him.
Floyd was pronounced dead at a Minneapolis hospital in an incident that began when police responded to a report of a man passing a counterfeit bill in a grocery store on Memorial Day.
The charges came after Minneapolis has been rocked by three days of protests, including looting, scores of fires and the burning of a police precinct station on Thursday even after the governor called out the National Guard.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s violent protests. Walz said the state would take over the response and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
Protesters nationwide have demanded justice for Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died this week after a white police officer used his knee to pin him down in an incident captured on video. Fires raged overnight in Minneapolis as crowds shattered windows and charged over a fence to get access to the 3rd Police Precinct.
“It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair,” Walz, a Democrat, said at a press conference in St. Paul before the arrest was announced.
For more coverage on the story of George Floyd, click here.