The Minnesota Attorney General's office has rendered a decision regarding the four former Minneapolis Police officers involved in killing George Floyd, and whether additional charges will be brought against them. On Wednesday afternoon, sources told CNN that a "significant announcement" was incoming. The state's Attorney General, Keith Ellison will break the news.
Floyd was killed on Monday, May 25 as four officers from the Minneapolis Police Department detained him on suspicion of possessing a counterfeit $20 bill. Three of them pinned him to the ground, including officer Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee pressed to Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. So far, only Chauvin has been arrested — charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — though all four have been fired. Protesters have been calling for the rest to be charged, and for the charges against Chauvin to be revised. So far, the Attorney's General's office has not announced what decision they have reached or when exactly it will be announced, but reporters are keeping an eye out for a press conference sometime today.
In addition to Chauvin, the other officers involved in Floyd's death include Thomas Lane, J.A. Keung and Tou Thao. Lane and Keung helped Chauvin restrain Floyd — some videos from the scene show them holding his back and legs to the ground behind their police cruiser, though the most viral angle obscures them, only showing Chauvin with his knee to Floyd's neck. Thao stood nearby while it all occurred.
All four officers were fired after the backlash to Floyd's death, though the initial autopsy claimed that Floyd may have had pre-existing conditions that contributed. His family sought out an independent autopsy, which found instead that he had died by homicide. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo admitted that all four officers were "complicit" in Floyd's death, sparking outrage that they were not being charged.
Protesters also want the charges against Chauvin to be revised, raising them from third-degree murder to at least second-degree murder — if not first. Minnesota is one of the only states in the county with a third-degree murder category, which applies to a violent act performed "without regard for life, but without intent to kill." Some speculate that prosecutors believe it will be easier to get a conviction on this charge.
Critics argue that this lighter charge will be less meaningful, especially with national attention now on Floyd. In a second or first-degree murder case, prosecutors would have to convince a jury that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd. Considering that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly three minutes after he became unresponsive, activists say this should not be a hard conclusion to reach.