Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, is due to appear in court on Monday, according to Good Morning America. Chauvin, a white man, faces a second-degree murder charge and a second-degree manslaughter charge after being caught on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a black man, as Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin, who originally faced third-degree murder and manslaughter charges, has yet to enter a plea in his case. The other three officers involved with Floyd's arrest — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — also have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Chauvin's elevated charges were announced on June 3, days after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison was appointed to handle Floyd's case by Gov. Tim Walz.
"This decision is one that I feel takes us in that direction and the step to start getting the justice for George Floyd," Walz said of appointing Ellison at the time of his appointment. Ellison said at a press conference soon after the news was announced, "We are pursuing justice. We are pursuing truth. We're doing it vigorously, and we are pursuing accountability."
He added at the time that there should be "a dose of reality" noted as the world watches Chauvin's case unfold. "Prosecuting police officers for misconduct, including homicide and murder, is very difficult, and if you look at the cases that have been in front of the public in the last many years, it's easy to see that is true," he said. "Every single link in the prosecutorial chain will come under attack as we present this case to a jury or a fact finder."
As the investigation into Floyd's death continues, his family mourned the loss of the "gentle giant" at a memorial service over the weekend. "Some death ain't about dying. Some death is about waking all of us up," said Jeremy Collins, a spokesman for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper at the service, adding Floyd's death "woke all of us up."
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin also spoke, urging police across the country to acknowledge that "we are part of the problem." He told the crowd, "We as law enforcement officers don't have the authority to bully, push people around and kill them because we have on a badge and a gun," he said. "It's got to change. We keep talking, we keep talking, we keep talking until it happens again. ... Enough of talking. Don't let the life of George Floyd be in vain."