KEY POINTS

  • Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd
  • Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the investigation was still ongoing and more charges could be filed later
  • Freeman said charges may be brought against the other three former police officers involved in Floyd's fatal arrest once the investigation is completed

Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer arrested for the death of George Floyd, was formally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday in the wake of two days of violence that ripped through the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and caused widespread damage. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a press conference more charges could be filed.

“We are in the process of continuing to review the evidence,” Freeman told reporters. “There may be subsequent charges later.”

When asked about the other three officers involved in Floyd’s arrest and death, Freeman said his office felt it was best to act quickly against Chauvin first.

“The investigation is ongoing. We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said. “I must say this case has moved with extraordinary speed.”

Freeman’s concern about the danger Chauvin posed was echoed in the complaint, which outlined the events leading to Floyd’s death. In it, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said underlying health issues combined with the length of time Chauvin kept Floyd pinned with his knee on Floyd’s neck led to the Floyd’s death.

“The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total,” the complaint said. “Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was nonresponsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued a statement following Chauvin’s arrest, saying:

“What's happened in Minneapolis is bigger than any one city and any single event. For our Black community who have, for centuries, been forced to endure injustice in a world simply unwilling to correct or acknowledge it: I know that whatever hope you feel today is tempered with skepticism and a righteous outrage.

“We are a nation at a crossroad, and today's decision from the county attorney is an essential first step on a longer road toward justice and healing our city.”

President Trump has been stoking racial divisions, calling protesters "thugs" and threatening military action to quell the sometimes violent demonstrations.

Protesters gather near the scene where George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis Protesters gather near the scene where George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis Photo: AFP / Kerem Yucel