MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is increasing charges against now-fired Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin to second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd and also charging the three other officers involved, according to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
"This is another important step for justice." Klobuchar wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is leading the prosecution in the case of George Floyd's death. A spokesperson for his office has not responded to messages seeking comment.
Floyd died on May 25 after now-fired Officer Derek Chauvin held him to the ground by putting his knee in Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident has sparked an outcry across the nation, calls for policing changes, and unrest and violence.
Following Floyd’s death, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident: Toa Thoa, Thomas Lane and A.J. Kueng.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman initially charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.
According to the charges filed against Chauvin, Lane and Kueng helped Chauvin hold Floyd down while Thoa stood nearby. Floyd told the officers, “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeated said “mama” and “please,” but the officers did not move from their positions.
At one point, Lane asked, “Should we roll him on his side?” and Chauvin said no. Floyd eventually appeared to stop breathing or speaking. Kueng checked his pulse and found none, but none of the officers moved until the ambulance arrived a few minutes later.
'All the world is watching'
The attorney representing Floyd's family said Wednesday he expected the remaining three fired officers to be charged before Floyd's memorial service on Thursday.
"Remember, one officer said, 'he doesn't have a pulse, maybe we should turn him on his side.' However, Officer Chauvin said 'no.' That shows intent,” Crump said Wednesday. “Equally important is the fact that those two knees in his back for not 1 minute, not 2 minutes, not 3 minutes, not 4 minutes, not 5 minutes, not 6 minutes, not 7 minutes, not 8 minutes but for almost 9 minutes...George Floyd begged for air."
Benjamin Crump spoke at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis, where he had accompanied Floyd’s family members—including his son—as they saw for the first time the memorial that had been set up there for Floyd.
"All the world is watching," Crump said, leading the crowd in a chant.
Following the news that all four officers have now been charged in the case, Crump wrote on Twitter, "This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that took decisive action, arresting & charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd's death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder."