Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George Floyd on Friday (May 29), Hennepin County D.A. Mike Freeman confirmed at a press conference.
“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder,” said Freeman.
“There could be more charges later. The investigation is ongoing. We felt it important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said when asked if the three additional fired MPD officers will be charged in Floyd’s murder. The third-degree murder charge suggests that Chauvin had no intent to kill Floyd. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Chauvin’s arrest follows three days of protests in an around Minneapolis. On Thursday (May 28), the MPD’s third precinct went up in flames.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct has been set on fire pic.twitter.com/h85rjffLgc
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 29, 2020
“We have never charged a case in that time frame. We can only prove a case when we have substantial evidence,” added Freeman who maintained that the timing of the arrest was a result of a final piece of evidence, although he refused to go into detail. “We have now been able to put together the evidence that we needed. Folks, I’m not gonna’ talk specifically about this piece of evidence, or that piece of evidence. You will see.”
Freeman did however state the that evidence collected in the case includes citizen video, officer body cam footage, witness statements, and a “preliminary report” from the medical examiner.
Chauvin was the officer filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and pleaded, “Please! Please! I can’t breathe!”
The fatal incident unfolded on Monday (May 25) afternoon. Police were called to Cup Food grocery store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fraudulent $20 bill. MPD claimed that Floyd resisted arrest but a security camera recording shows him walking calmly in handcuffs while being escorted to a patrol car by an MPD officer.
Video footage release by store owner who stated George did not resist arrest as stated on the police report #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatters pic.twitter.com/aqFzkPmnEp
— Que ™ (@RealQDaKidd) May 27, 2020
Additional footage, recorded by a teenage bystander, captured Floyd’s last few minutes alive. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Chauvin may have already known Floyd as they both worked security for the Minneapolis club, El Nueva Rodeo.