Attorney General Keith Ellison Charges Remaining Three Ex-Officers In George Floyd Murder Case

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison charged three former Minneapolis police officers Wednesday in connection with the death of George Floyd in their custody. Additionally, Derek Chauvin, a fourth former officer who had already been charged with third-degree murder in the case, will now be charged with second-degree murder.

Ellison previously said that he had “every expectation” that charges will be filed against the officers and that he hoped they’d come soon. But on Monday, after taking over the case, he cautioned against a rush to judgment and said prosecutors will be careful and methodical in bringing charges.

According to court reports, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng are each facing charges of unintentional aiding and abetting second-degree murder as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

During a press conference, Ellison said he is confident in the prosecution but recognizes there are challenges when prosecuting police officers.

“I want to begin with a reminder and that is that we’re here today because George Floyd is not here. He should be here. He should be alive but he’s not,” Ellison said while announcing the additional charges. “About nine days ago the world watched Floyd utter his very last words, ‘I can’t breathe.'”

“I pledge and I promise to hold everyone accountable for their behavior in court,” Ellison said at the news conference. He said public pressure played no part in his decision to upgrade charges against Chauvin or charge the other three, and he said he would not attempt to bring any charges that could not be proven in court or justified by the facts. “If I don’t charge it, that means we don’t have the facts to prove it,” he said.

Floyd’s family has asked that first-degree murder charges be brought. In Minnesota, a first-degree murder charge would require prosecutors to prove the murder and intent were premeditated.

The upgraded charge against Chauvin says the officer’s actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd’s death.

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, also issued a statement;

“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,” Crump said. “This is a source of peace for George’s family in this painful time.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, made the following statement in support of the charges brought by Ellison who is from Detroit.

“Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s decision to increase the charge against the former Minneapolis officer directly responsible for Mr. Floyd’s death to 2nd Degree Murder is a major step toward justice.

Just as importantly, the felony charges of aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder against the other three send a message to all police officers that they are criminally responsible when they see a crime being committed by a fellow officer against any citizen and fail to protect the victim. I pray these actions begin to bring a sense of real justice to Mr. Floyd’s family.

And, of course, all of Detroit is proud today of Keith Ellison and his courageous action.”

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