(The Center Square) – Attorney General Keith Ellison charged the other three former Minneapolis police officers involved with the death of George Floyd with aiding and abetting murder and escalated the fourth’s charge to second-degree murder.
A widely watched video showed Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, ignoring his cries for help, and sparked international protests against police brutality.
“The world heard Floyd call out for his life,” Ellison said.
Three other officers watched the arrest.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane face aiding and abetting second-degree murder charges, a felony offense.
“I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community, and our state,” Ellison said.
Ellison called for police reform to “rewrite the rules for a just society now.”
A joint statement by Floyd’s family and attorney Benjamin Crump welcomed the new charges.
“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” the statement said. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.
“These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department’s widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people’s constitutional rights. Therefore, we also demand permanent transparent police accountability at all levels and at all times,” ” the statement said.
“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest,” the statement continued. “That is a source of peace for George’s family in this painful time.”
Gov. Tim Walz called the charges “a meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd.”
Walz’s statement continued: “But we must also recognize that the anguish driving protests around the world is about more than one tragic incident.
“George Floyd’s death is the symptom of a disease. We will not wake up one day and have the disease of systemic racism cured for us. This is on each of us to solve together, and we have hard work ahead.”