The Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with murder on Friday (May 29,2020). The authorities also imposed an overnight curfew to try to curb three nights of violent protests that left dozens of stores burned and looted in the matter.
The arrested known as Derek Chauvin who is 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case.
It was also reported that the officer was also accused of ignoring another officer at the scene who expressed concerns about the black man as he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading that he could not breathe.
Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney claimed that more charges were possible and that the said investigation into the other three continues, but authorities have “felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”
Following the same, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had declared a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am on Friday and Saturday. The order released elucidated that no one can be out in public except emergency responders and people seeking medical care, fleeing danger, or those who are homeless.
In a statement, Frey stated, “I know that whatever hope you feel today is tempered with skepticism and righteous outrage.” It was also added that “Today’s decision from the County Attorney is an essential first step on a long road towards justice and healing our city.”
The criminal complaint which was received mentioned that Chauvin allegedly disregarded the concerns of another officer, who wanted to roll Floyd onto his side as he was being held down. It was also revealed by the autopsy papers that there was nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death.
The reasons that likely contributed to his death were the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, and his underlying health issues, including heart disease.
An independent autopsy was sought by Floyd’s family and it was added that the police were trying to put Floyd in a squad car when he stiffened up and fell to the ground, saying he was claustrophobic.
Officer Tou Thoa and Chauvin also arrived for help and tried several times to get the struggling Floyd into the car. There was a point were Floyd who was handcuffed went to the ground face down and Chauvin pulled Floyd out of the car’s passenger side.
The complaint further said that officer JK Kueng held Floyd’s back and that officer Thomas Lane held his legs, while Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s head and neck area. Chauvin said no when Lane asked him whether Floyd should be rolled onto his side. Further Lane said that he was “worried about excited delirium or whatever” and to this Chauvin replied that “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”
After Floyd stopped breathing, Lane asked again that he wanted to roll Chauvin onto his side and then Kueng checked for a pulse and said that he could not find one.
It is estimated that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, including nearly three minutes after Floyd stopped moving and talking. When the Associated Press reached out to Chauvin, his attorney had no comments on the matter.
A person who was picketed by protestors, Freeman highlighted the extraordinary speed in charging the case just four days after Floyd’s death however, he also defended himself against questions about why it did not happen sooner. It was further added that Chauvin needed more time to put together evidence, including what he called the ‘horrible’ video recorded by a bystander.
There were chants of “All four got to go” by protestors outside the government offices as soon as the charges were announced.
On Thursday (May 28,2020) night enraged demonstrators burned a Minneapolis police station soon after the officer’s abandoned it. Fueled by the outrage over Floyd’s death and the years of violence against African Americans at the hands of police, protests on similar lines spread across the US. Various demonstrators also clashed with officers in New York and blocked traffic in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver.
As soon as Minnesota Governor Tim Walz acknowledged the ‘abject failure’ of the response to the protests and called for swift justice for the officers, the news of the arrest was revealed.
Walz in a statement said, “Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire, the fire is still smoldering in our streets, the ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard.” He further added, “Now generations of pain are manifesting itself in front of the world, and the world is watching.”
In a recent tweet, President Donald Trump also threatened action and stated that “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” However, the President soon clarified that he was referring to the shooting that had happened during the protests and not otherwise.