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3 Jun, 2020 18:17

3 more Minneapolis police officers charged over death of George Floyd as Chauvin’s charge raised to 2nd degree murder

3 more Minneapolis police officers charged over death of George Floyd as Chauvin’s charge raised to 2nd degree murder

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is charging the three other officers present during the George Floyd killing, and Derek Chauvin will now face a second-degree murder charge, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.

Footage of Chauvin pressing his knee onto Floyd's neck – despite the prone man saying he couldn't breathe – went viral and drew widespread condemnation. The officer was fired over the incident and was initially charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. According to the court documents, Chauvin now faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Protesters across the nation have demanded that the three other officers at the scene of the incident – which began as a response to a suspected forgery – be held accountable as well.

"This is another important step for justice," Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted, in response to the attorney general's decision.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the three other officers – Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane – and they are now being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Ellison is requesting bail for all four be set at $1 million.

Second-degree murder generally means intentional murder without premeditation, while third degree murder is the killing of someone without the intent of death. 

Attorney General Ellison only recently took over the Floyd case at the request of Governor Tim Walz. It was previously being handled by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

Ellison said at a Wednesday press conference that the process of investigating and prosecuting the officers will "take months" and asked the public and media to be patient. 

Floyd's death has sparked major anti-police brutality protests across the US, and while many were peaceful, others devolved into looting, riots and violence. The National Guard has been activated in several states to help quell the unrest and curfews put in place in New York City, Nashville, and other areas.

While numerous videos of riot police lashing out at protesters and journalists have gone viral in recent days, police officers have also become the target of violence, including retired captain David Dorn, who was killed while trying to stop a burglary in St Louis, Missouri.

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