Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office upgraded charges against former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, and also charged the other three officers at the scene with aiding and abetting murder.
The decision followed more than a week of protests calling for tougher charges against Chauvin. Chauvin was captured on video pinning Floyd to the ground and kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd begged for air. At least one of the other officers, who hasn’t been named yet, was also taken into custody late Wednesday.
“We strongly believe these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, this community and our state,” Ellison said. “George Floyd mattered. He was loved, his family was important and his life had value,” Ellison said. “We will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.”
However, he acknowledged, “I don’t believe one successful prosecution can reflect the hurt and loss that people feel.”
Chauvin now faces the more serious charge of second-degree murder, in addition to the original charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.
Chauvin was originally charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office last week.The other officers at the scene — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — were each charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.
The charges come just days after Gov. Tim Walz asked Ellison to take over the prosecution. Despite the quick pace of adding charges to the investigation, Ellison sought to manage expectations, cautioning that the cases could take “months” to see through. He also brushed off the idea that intense public pressure influenced the process.