Over a week after the police killing of George Floyd and several days after manslaughter charges were brought against former office Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis Attorney General Keith Ellison announced charges against the three officers involved in Floyd's death. According to a tweet sent out by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and as confirmed by CNN, Ellison is also increasing the severity of the charges against Chauvin, who was captured on video suffocating Floyd by holding a knee to his neck for at least eight minutes.
Chauvin was previously charged with manslaughter and third degree murder, but he will now be charged with second degree murder, indicating that investigators believe Chauvin understood the intent of his action. The other three officers involved — Thomas Lane, J.A. Keung, and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting Floyd's killing. While Chauvin kneed Floyd, Lane and Keung helped restrain him and Thao stood by watching.
The attorney general's office took over the investigation and since then, two autopsies have determined that Floyd died by homicide. An independent autopsy led by George Floyd's family detailed that he died of "asphyxiation from sustained pressure,” specifically to the neck and back.
Following the announcement that the AG's office will now charge all four officers, Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family's attorney, shared their response: "This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that (Ellison) took decisive action, arresting & charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd's death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder."
"My father should not have been killed like this — we want justice," Quincy Mason Floyd said in an interview on Wednesday.
Charges come after a global outcry, with protests flooding the streets in cities across the US and worldwide. The immediate call for justice came after multiple unarmed Black men and women were killed by police, highlighting a problem with police brutality and systemic racism in America.
According to CNN, Minneapolis protestors, who began demonstrating last Tuesday and have not ceased, broke out in jubilation after hearing about additional charges to Chauvin and charges against all officers involved in his killing.
Still, Crump says that there's more justice to be served in this case — and others. In response to the announcement, he said he will continue to push the AG to increase charges against Chauvin to first degree murder.
"It was torture. It was an outward expression of complete utter desperation from a dying man," Crump said. "We cannot unsee it."