On Wednesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced via a Twitter post that the three former Minneapolis police officers who were involved with the arrest and of George Floyd will be criminally charged in connection with his death.
The Senator also tweeted that Derek Chauvin, a former officer who had already been charged with third-degree murder in the case, will now be charged with second-degree murder.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is increasing charges against Derek Chauvin to 2nd degree in George Floyd’s murder and also charging other 3 officers. This is another important step for justice.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 3, 2020
Klobuchar did not detail the charges that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison plans to file against the three other ex-cops: Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane.
The ex-cops assisted Chauvin in arresting Floyd on Memorial Day on the suspicion that Floyd passed a counterfeit bill.
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after multiple videos showing him kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes surfaced and went viral.
In the video, Chauvin keeps him knee on Floyd’s neck ignoring the man’s pleas. Floyd can be heard telling Chauvin multiple times he couldn’t breathe but Chauvin refused to remove his knee. The video shows that Chauvin continued to keep his knee of Floyd’s neck even after Floyd became nonresponsive. Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the nationin dozens of cities.
A second-degree murder charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years upon conviction, compared to 25 years for third-degree murder. Actual sentences are often short of the maximum.
Floyd’s family had called via its attorneys for charges against Lane, Thao and Kueng. The family also has demanded that Chauvin face an upgraded charge of first-degree murder, which would expose him to a longer possible prison sentence if he is convicted.
There have been two separate autopsies conducted on Floyd. The first performed by the Hennepin County, Minnesota, Medical Examiner’s Office, and the second, an independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family. Both found that Floyd’s death was a homicide, however they differed in their determinations of its causes.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s autopsy found that Floyd died from “cardiopulmonary arrest” that was complicated by police subduing him with restraint and neck compression. The autopsy also cited underlying health conditions as contributing to his death.
The independent autopsy found that he died from asphyxiation and that pressure on both his neck and back contributed. Dr. Michael Baden, one of the pathologists and a former chief medical examiner for New York City, said Monday that Floyd “had no underlying medical problems that caused or contributed to his death.”
The criminal complaint against Chauvin details Kueng’s and Lane’s actions during Floyd’s arrest. According to the complaint, Kueng held Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs.
At one point, Kueng checked for a pulse and said “I couldn’t find one,” according to the complaint. But he and the other cops stayed in their positions for approximately two more minutes.