The fired Minneapolis police officer seen in a video with his knee on George Floyd’s neck has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Freeman said, adding that he anticipated charges against the other three officers involved in the incident.
“We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job to protect us. They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably,” he said.
The death of Floyd has led to protests in cities across the nation and questions about the justice system when Americans of color are killed by police. There have been multiple protests with looting, fires and property damage in the Twin Cities, and the Minnesota governor, while acknowledging “visceral pain,” has called for order.
Protests continued Friday for a fourth day in Minneapolis.
The evidence in the case includes a cell phone video of the incident, body worn cameras, witness statements, a preliminary report from medical examiner, and discussions with an expert, Freeman said.
The criminal complaint says, “(Former officer) Derek Michael Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind without regard for human life.”
If convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin would face up to 25 years in prison on the first charge and up to 10 years on the second.
A preliminary autopsy report by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” according to the criminal complaint released by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
The report added: “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”
Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds in total, and 2 minutes, 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint.