The Minneapolis police officer who was seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd before he died has been arrested and charged with murder.
The Minneapolis police officer who was seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd before he died has been arrested and charged with murder.

Police officer charged over George Floyd's death

The Minneapolis police officer who was seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after enough evidence was gathered to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said on Friday.

Freeman did not have immediate details, but said a criminal complaint would be made available later.

The charges come after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct overnight.

Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed man who was pleading that he could not breathe. Picture: Darnella Frazier via APSource:AP
Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed man who was pleading that he could not breathe. Picture: Darnella Frazier via APSource:AP

 

Chauvin and three other police officers were fired following Mr Floyd's arrest.

A video of the incident showed Mr Floyd being pinned to the ground by Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for more than 10 minutes.

Mr Floyd, 46, could be heard telling the officer, "I can't breathe", before losing consciousness.

Another video shot from a different angle showed multiple officers were on the ground with Floyd as he was arrested.

Minnesota Attorney-General Keith Ellison said earlier on Friday that he expected charges would be laid against all four officers involved.

"I anticipate there will be charges. I hope they're soon. But that is the prerogative of another prosecuting authority," he told CNN.

"They are trying to be careful. They are trying to make sure their case is strong and airtight.

"Everybody believes that this is a violation of Mr Floyd. And I believe that everybody wants to see these charges filed as soon as they can be. But again, I do want to say we have seen cases that seem so clear go south."

Lawyers for Mr Floyd's family are now calling for an independent investigation.

The owner of a popular Latin nightclub said that Mr Floyd and Chauvin both worked as security guards at the club as recently as the end of last year, but it's not clear whether they worked together.

Chauvin worked at the El Nuevo Rodeo club as an off-duty security guard for nearly two decades, but Mr Floyd had only worked there more recently for about a dozen events that featured African-American music, Maya Santamaria told The Associated Press.

Ms Santamaria said if Chauvin had recognised Floyd, "he might have given him a little more mercy".

- With wires

Originally published as Minneapolis police officer charged


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