Following the charges brought against Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, the three other former Minneapolis police officers involved have officially been charged, as well. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced that Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao have all been charged with "aiding and abetting second-degree murder" and "aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter."
"I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said when publicly announcing the charges. Additionally, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, has had his previous charge of third-degree murder upped to second-degree murder. He is also previously charged with second-degree manslaughter, with that charge appearing to remain unchanged.
Minnesota AG Ellison announces murder charge against Derek Chauvin elevated to second-degree murder and that 3 other former Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd are charged with aiding and abetting murder; arrest warrants issued. pic.twitter.com/AwrIHh1mJw— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 3, 2020
Regarding the new charges, Floyd's family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, has released a statement on their behalf, saying that "this is a bittersweet moment" for them. The family feels "deeply gratified" that Ellison "took decisive action" by "arresting and charging ALL the officers involved" in Floyd's death." They are also happy to hear that officials have upgraded Chauvin's murder charge has to "felony second-degree murder."
The family added that while they are "relieved" about the new charges, Ellison has informed them that "the investigation is ongoing," and that "if there is evidence to support first-degree murder conviction," then it will be upped again. During his press conference announcing the new charges, Ellison explained that he "did not allow public pressure to impact" his "decision-making process." He added that his team "made these decisions based on the facts" they "gathered since this matter occurred." He also stated that they made "these charges based on the law that we think applies."
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has since issued a statement on the new charges, calling them a "meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd," per CNN. He went on to add, however, that it is still important to "recognize that the anguish driving protests around the world is about more than one tragic incident." Walz called Floyd's death a "symptom of a disease," and stated that he believes curing systemic racism "is on each of us to solve together."