Derek Chauvin, cop who pinned down George Floyd, faces murder charge
The cop who was caught on camera using his knee to pin George Floyd’s neck to the ground is being charged with unintentional murder and manslaughter — but may face more serious allegations, a Minnesota prosecutor said Friday.
The three other cops at the scene will likely also face charges in Floyd’s racially charged death, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
Since-fired Officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody pending the filing of a criminal complaint charging him with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Freeman said.
Under Minnesota law, third-degree murder covers “eminently dangerous” acts that cause death without the intent of doing so, and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
“We are in the process of continuing to review the evidence,” Freeman said. “There may be subsequent charges later.”
Freeman said Chauvin’s arrest was “by far, the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer.”
He declined to say what charges might be filed against the other cops, or when.
Freeman’s remarks came shortly after Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington told reporters that Chauvin had been busted by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Earlier in the day, Harrington had described Floyd’s death as a “murder” during a news conference with Gov. Tim Walz and other officials.
Chauvin, who is white, was fired following the release of a cellphone video that showed him ignoring bystanders’ pleas to release Floyd, who was black and was heard saying “I can’t breathe” before apparently losing consciousness.
Floyd’s death sparked three nights of increasingly violent protests in Minneapolis and led to the burning of a police station Thursday night.
Activists and others have demanded the prosecution of Chauvin and the three other cops who were at the scene of Floyd’s arrest Monday for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to try to buy groceries at a deli.
The three other officers were also fired.