Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck moments before his death, has been charged with murder.
Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck during an arrest until he lost consciousness on Monday, May 25, despite repeatedly telling officers he couldn’t breathe. Floyd, an unarmed and defenceless black man, later died in a nearby hospital.
Video footage shows these events unfold, and witnesses at the scene recall pleading with the police to stop hurting Floyd. However, prior to today, May 29, the only action taken was that the four officers involved were fired.
News first broke that Chauvin had been arrested earlier today, although it was not immediately clear what the expected charges being brought against the disgraced police officer were.
Those charges were revealed in a press conference this afternoon, with Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman mentioning there had been a ‘major development’ in the case.
Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, with Freeman saying further charges could follow as his team continues to review evidence. ‘Even as late as yesterday afternoon, we didn’t have all that we needed. But as of now, we have it,’ he said.
Freeman went on to say his team would prosecute the case ‘very carefully’, adding that despite video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, they still faced ‘a difficult burden of proof’.
According to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, the four-day turnaround in charging Chauvin is ‘extraordinary’, saying, ‘We have never charged a case in that time frame,’ reports.
Protests broke out across the city in the days that followed, with hundreds demanding that the four officers involved in Floyd’s death be brought to justice. Now, finally, it looks as though progress might be being made.
Rest in peace, George.