The charge against the former officer believed to be responsible for Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, has been upgraded to the heftier count of second-degree murder.
In addition to Chauvin’s upgraded charges, the other former officers, Tou Thao, 34, Thomas Lane, 37, and J. Alexander Kueng, 26, are being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced what the former officers face on Wednesday.
“I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community, and our state.”
According to CNN, Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, and Thao stood nearby fending off passersby who objected to the use of force being exerted on Floyd.
The man who has become the face of the crime, Chauvin, 44, was arrested late last week and is being held by the Minnesota Department of Corrections Facility on a bail of $1 million, according to CNN. Lane, Kueng, and Thao were all taken into custody on Wednesday and also being held on $1 million bails.
While it will be up to their defense to find an argument to defend the four men, two separate autopsies performed on Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed African American man, ruled that his death was a homicide. Floyd was being detained for what is believed to be a relatively minor charge when he was placed down on the pavement and put in cuffs. Chauvin proceeded to place his knee on Floyd’s neck, which allegedly obstructed his airway and possibly led to his death minutes later.
Video footage of the event went viral, sparking outrage over the aggressive use of force used on Floyd. Protests across the nation have brought attention to the issue of police brutality, specifically as directed toward people of color.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired all the officers after the footage got out, saying they were at a minimum “complicit” in Floyd’s untimely death.
ALL THE WORLD IS WATCHING. As police officers, your job is to serve & protect. But the 4 ex-officers who MURDERED #GeorgeFloyd offered NO HUMANITY, even when bystanders begged them to save George. They got arrested & charged, now they need to be convicted!! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/Oeen1qpNhf— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 4, 2020
A spokesperson for the family commented on the arrests of the additional officers, saying that the Floyd family is taking heart with the new charges that have been brought.
“This is a bittersweet moment,” Benjamin Crump, the family attorney said.
“We are deeply gratified that (Ellison) took decisive action, arresting & charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd’s death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.”
The three former officers most recently charged could spend up to 40 years in prison.