Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on the neck of George Floyd prior to Floyd’s death, has had his third-degree murder charge upgraded to second-degree murder, according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
The development was announced on Wednesday, June 3.
Along with Chauvin’s charges being upgraded, the three other officers who were involved in the incident — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
All four of the police officers were fired by the Minneapolis Police Department.
One of the attorneys representing George Floyd’s family, Benjamin Crump, issued a statement on behalf of Floyd’s family and legal team praising Ellison for upgrading the charges against Chauvin and arresting and charging the other officers involved.
“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” said the joint statement by Floyd’s family, Crump, and the legal team, via the Star-Tribune. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.
“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest. That is a source of peace for George’s family in this painful time.
“These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department’s widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people’s constitutional rights. Therefore, we also demand permanent transparent police accountability at all levels and at all times.”
The statement also asked for the charges against Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder, while sharing their support of protestors across the country and urging them to continue fighting and pushing for upgraded charges to hold everyone fully accountable.
“Our message to them: Find constructive and positive ways to keep the focus and pressure on,” the family said. “Don’t let up on your demand for change.”