Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey held a press briefing Wednesday and called on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to file charges against Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is the officer seen on video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he passes out and later dies.
George died in police custody Monday night, and bystander video has since circulated showing Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd says repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.”
Early Wednesday afternoon the City of Minneapolis released the names of all four officers fired in the wake of Floyd’s death – Officer Derek Chauvin, Officer Thomas Lane, Officer Tou Thao, and Officer J Alexander Kueng.
Frey said that his request is based on video evidence that he’s seen, and would not go into further details for fear of jeopardizing the investigation.
“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question. Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey said to reporters on Wednesday. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that question.”
“George Floyd deserves justice, his family deserves justice, the black community deserves justice, and our city deserves justice,” Frey said.
“We watched for five whole excruciating minutes as a white officer firmly pressed his knee into the neck of an unarmed, handcuffed black man,” Frey said. “I saw no threat, I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary.”
Frey said that the maneuver used by the officer is not approved by the Minneapolis Police Department.
Gov. Tim Walz said at a media briefing Wednesday that he’s spoken with both Frey and Freeman, and they’ve promised “swift action” once the facts are in.
“I was shocked and horrified by the video of George Floyd’s death,” Walz said. “It’s very clear to anyone that what happened to George Floyd is wrong. The lack of humanity in the video made me physically ill.”
Walz said he supports the protesters’ right to peacefully assemble, and encourages them to be safe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“George Floyd didn’t deserve to die,” Walz said. “But George Floyd does deserve justice.”