Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday that ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.
Bystander video captured Chauvin Monday night kneeling for more than eight minutes on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd, who was face down on the ground and pleading that he could not breathe.
Freeman said he anticipated charges for the three other officers who were fired in the incident, but “we felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”
The criminal complaint against Chauvin says the officer had his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds total. That includes two minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd was non-responsive.
"Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the complaint reads.
Freeman said the charges against Chauvin are the same as those that came down against Mohamed Noor, the ex-Minneapolis police officer found guilty in the on-duty killing of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk in 2017.
Chauvin was arrested earlier in the day by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents, said John Harrington, the state’s public safety director, who oversees the BCA.
During a Friday news conference, Harrington referred to Floyd’s death as murder.
“We’ll call it a murder, that’s what it looked like to me,” Harrington said while commenting that the majority of people protesting Floyd’s death were doing so peacefully.
“I don’t want to prejudice this from a criminal perspective. I’m just calling it what I see it at that point."
Following Chauvin’s arrest, Gov. Tim Walz wrote on Twitter that “Chauvin's actions were horrific. His arrest is a good first step toward justice for George Floyd. But it doesn't change the systemic problems and persistent inequities that led to his death or the pain our communities live with every day. We’re committed to change.”
Separately from the state probe, FBI officials say they are investigating Floyd’s death for possible federal civil rights violations.