Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has promised "swift" justice for the police officers involved in the death of George Floyd after white officer Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a black man, for several minutes as the unarmed and handcuffed 46-year-old gasped for air. Floyd later died in police custody, sparking protests and nationwide calls for the involved officers to be charged in his death.
During a Friday press conference, Walz promised a thorough, transparent investigation into Chauvin's actions as well as the other officers involved, but called for protesters to allow for the legal process to play out. "It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair. That is what we've asked for. I have been in contact with Hennepin County attorney, and I am confident that those very things I just said will happen," Walz said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey took a more immediate stance on the issue, saying Wednesday that Chauvin should be charged in the death of Floyd, adding he saw nothing to justify that kind of violent force in Floyd's arrest for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin and three other officers were fired the day after Floyd died, but have not spoken publicly about their role in Floyd's death.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul called Floyd's death "torture and murder, under color of law." In a statement posted to his Twitter Friday, Kaul denounced the actions of the officers. "What America witnessed happening to George Floyd in Minneapolis was not, in any true sense of the phrase, law enforcement," he wrote. "Justice demands that those involved in this depraved crime be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison likewise condemned the officers' actions at a news briefing Friday, saying he and other state officials are committed to "longterm change." Ellison said of the protests, "I want to be clear: that if the message was this situation with Mr. Floyd is intolerable, absolutely unacceptable, and must change, that message has been sent and received, as well."
"We are not just going to fix the windows and sweep up the glass. We're going to fix a broken, shattered society that leaves so many people behind based on their historical legacy of being in bondage and servitude, then second-class citizenship and now fraught with disparities from everything from incarceration to housing to wages to everything else," he continued, adding that he is forming a group focused on "preventing and reducing deadly force encounters with police."