On May 25, police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, during an arrest, which has subsequently set off widespread protests around the world. Chauvin was arrested and charged on Friday for third-degree murder and manslaughter, but those charges could be elevated according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. The Star Tribune reported that Ellison has plans to elevate the charges against Chauvin. He also plans to charge the other three officers involved in the incident with aiding and abetting murder.
The Star Tribune reported that Ellison plans to charge Chauvin with second-degree murder now. Additionally, the three other officers involved in the incident — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane — will be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota responded to this news on Twitter, writing that she believes this elevation of charges is an "important step for justice." More concrete details about all of these charges are reportedly forthcoming.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is increasing charges against Derek Chauvin to 2nd degree in George Floyd’s murder and also charging other 3 officers. This is another important step for justice.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 3, 2020
While Ellison has not yet made any official announcements regarding this case, Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Floyd's family, released a statement in which he said that this news about elevated charges is a "significant step forward" in obtaining justice. The statement, which came from Crump, Floyd's family, and their legal team, read, "This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd. We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd's death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder."
"This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd's body was laid to rest," the statement continued. "That is a source of peace for George's family in this painful time." Crump's statement went on to urge Ellison to upgrade the charges to first-degree murder, which would carry a life sentence. Their message continued, "These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department's widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people's constitutional rights. Therefore, we also demand permanent transparent police accountability at all levels and at all times."