- Three other Minneapolis police officers were charged with manslaughter and abetting murder.
- In Minneapolis, protesters received the news of the new charges, and the arrests of three officers, with joy.
- Former President Barack Obama encouraged the protesters while talking about police reforms.
The protests against the death of the African-American, George Floyd, continued across US cities peacefully on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd down using his knee, is set to face an additional charge. Chauvin will now face the charge of second degree murder.
He was arrested on Friday last week and was facing third degree murder and manslaughter. Arrests have also been made for the other three officers involved in the killing. They are set to face the charge of abetting second degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The four officers were fired on May 26, following a video on Floyd’s last moments that went viral.
In Minneapolis, protesters received the news of the new charges, and the arrests of three officers, with joy. Floyd’s son knelt at the spot where his father was pinned down by the white officer. “I appreciate everyone showing support and love,” Quincy Floyd said, making his first public appearance on Wednesday morning.
“We absolutely believe that he was tortured in the last 8 minutes and 46 seconds of his life,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, who accompanied him, said of Floyd. The night curfews continued as protesters filled the streets for the ninth day.
The death of Floyd has sparked outrage from all quarters. The former US president Barack Obama has also added his voice to the murder of the African-American. He encouraged the protesters while talking about police reforms. “I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter,” he said.
The former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga condemned the brutal killing of Floyd and posted a prayer on his twitter account. The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemned the murder, saying that his organization rejects the discrimination against blacks in the US. A number of US embassies in Africa have also condemned the murder and called for justice.
Bridgett Floyd, George Floyd’s sister, said all four officers should face murder charges. “They murdered my brother. He was crying for help,” Bridgett said. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, on his part, called the incident “a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but a part of an ingrained systematic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country.”
In a horrifying video, Chauvin, pinned Floyd down with his knee as he lay on the ground during an arrest. The video footage was taken by a witness and was sent on social media. It showed Floyd helpless, asking the police not to kill him. Floyd said several times, “I can’t breathe!”
The officer is then heard telling him to relax he continues to pin him down. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts,” Floyd cries out. “[I need] water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. . . I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.” In the footage witnesses are heard pleading with the police to let go the man but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Floyd’s case is similar to Eric Garner’s, a black man who was unarmed and was killed in 2014 in New York. Garner was placed in a police chokehold, and pleaded for his life. Garner uttered the same phrase as Floyd: “I can’t breathe.” The police officer involved in Garner’s case was fired after the investigations were completed.