Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane & J. Alexander Kueng have been charged in the killing of George Floyd, per NBC News. On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced plans to charge the three officers with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Thao, Lane, and Kueng’s anticipated charges will likely be joined by an elevated charge against fellow former officer Derek Chauvin. According to a report from the Star Tribune, Chauvin will now be facing a second-degree murder charge for his role in the brutal altercation with Floyd on May 25. A video from the scene showed Chauvin holding his knee against Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while the victim pleaded for air.
According to an independent autopsy requested by Floyd’s family, the victim died from asphyxia as a result of neck and back compression. According to a TMZreport, Dr. Michael Baden — the doctor who conducted the autopsy — concluded that Floyd had died between four and five minutes into the time he was being pinned.
Chauvin was originally arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Following public outcry that Chauvin’s charges were too lenient, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appointed Ellison as the prosecutor in the case. Until May 31, it was being handled by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
In the original video, only Thao was visible alongside Chauvin. However, a video released from an alternate angle showed Lane and Kueng pinning Floyd down while Chauvin applied the lethal pressure against the victim’s neck.
According to the Star Tribune report, Kueng was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene after receiving a call accusing Floyd of using a $20 bill that was suspected to be counterfeit. Kueng reportedly played a role in pinning Floyd down. Lane was described as pointing a gun at Floyd before handcuffing him. Lane also reportedly asked the other officers if Floyd should be put on his side as he was being pinned down.
The Floyd family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, responded with a tweet following the news that Thao, Lane, and Kueng would be charged.
“FAMILY’S REACTION: This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that @AGEllison took decisive action, arresting & charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd’s death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder. #JusticeForGeorge”
When he previously appeared on the Tuesday edition of TODAY, Crump shared his optimism that the three other officers would join Chauvin in being charged.
“We heard that they expect to charge those officers,” the attorney said.