The state of Minnesota announced Friday afternoon that Derek Chauvin, the former police officer seen pressing his knee on the neck of George Floyd shortly before he passed out and died, has been arrested.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman revealed that Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter roughly 50 minutes after his arrest became known to the public.
BREAKING: Derek Chauvin, one of four former officers fired for involvement in George Floyd’s death, has been charged with murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announces. https://t.co/70BeNIjMHL pic.twitter.com/XVrvNFw2IA
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2020
Shortly before noon, state officials held a press conference on the Floyd George case — leading with Governor Tim Walz (D) and Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), who urged for calm and an end to violent riots which have destroyed businesses in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
The state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner John Harrington spoke at the press conference but called reporters back to the room minutes after its end to announce the arrest.
— Glen Stubbe (@gspphoto) May 29, 2020
During the press conference, Harrington said he felt Floyd’s death was a “murder,” though he did not want to “prejudice” any potential prosecution of the officers involved.
John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, called the death of George Floyd a murder. “That's what it looked like to me. I don't want to prejudice this from a criminal perspective, but I’m just calling it [as] I see it.” https://t.co/TrmxXvIOhv pic.twitter.com/Gf3zFHs7ZT
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 29, 2020
Freeman had caused some confusion Thursday night, when he held off on announcing any charges because ” there’s other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.” His office later sent out a statement that he had been “misinterpreted.” Speaking to reporters Friday, he asserted “we have now found the evidence that we need.”
Freeman said he anticipates charges will be filed against the other officers, as well.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired on May 26, a day after Floyd’s death. That Monday, a bystander took video of the man lying handcuffed to the ground as Chauvin kneeled on his neck. “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd cried out. “Please, man.” Eventually, he stopped moving, but the officer did not move his knee for several minutes. Police called for an ambulance after Floyd lost consciousness, and he died later at the medical facility where he was transported.
The officers were responding to a report of forgery at a Minneapolis business.