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George Floyd’s Family Demand Derek Chauvin Be Charged With First-Degree Murder

by : Emily Brown on : 30 May 2020 11:40
George Floyd's Family Demand Derek Chauvin Be Charged With First-Degree MurderGeorge Floyd's Family Demand Derek Chauvin Be Charged With First-Degree MurderDarnella Frazier/Facebook/PA Images

The family of George Floyd have called for former police officer Derek Chauvin to be charged with first-degree murder. 

Disturbing footage taken on Monday, May 25, shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while trying to arrest him, despite Floyd’s protests that he couldn’t breathe.

After a few minutes, Floyd became unresponsive and an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital. It was later announced he had died.

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Protesters against death of George FloydProtesters against death of George FloydPA Images

The four officers involved in the arrest have since been fired, and yesterday, May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, with his bail set at $500,000.

There have been no conditions set for Chauvin’s release, and the criminal complaint filed against him doesn’t indicate whether Chauvin is out on bail, CNN reports.

Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington described the four-day turnaround in charging Chauvin as ‘extraordinary’, though Floyd’s family have argued the charges are insufficient.

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Police officer kneeling on man's neck during arrestPolice officer kneeling on man's neck during arrestDarnella Frazier/Facebook

In a statement released through their civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump, the family said:

The arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the brutal killing of George Floyd is a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice. We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge.

We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer.

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Though there were four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, only Chauvin has been charged with murder. As well as changing Chauvin’s murder charge to first-degree, the family believe the other three officers should also be arrested.

Under Minnesota statutes, cited by NBC News, first-degree murder is defined as a slaying that includes ‘premeditation and with intent to effect the death of the person or of another.’ Charging Chauvin with first degree murder would suggest he purposefully set out to kill Floyd.

Second-degree murder is often applied to drive-by shootings or other killings where the offender is ‘intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm upon the victim.’

Police Officer Who Knelt On George Floyd's Neck Has 18 Prior Complaints Against HimPolice Officer Who Knelt On George Floyd's Neck Has 18 Prior Complaints Against HimDarnella Frazier/Facebook
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Third-degree murder means an offender did not mean to kill the victim, but that the person died as a result of the offender ‘perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.’

This charge suggests Chauvin was not intending to kill Floyd, but that his death was the result of Chauvin’s ‘dangerous act’ of kneeling on his neck and preventing him from breathing.

State documents explaining Chauvin’s charge read:

Derek Michael Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd by his culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk and taking a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to George Floyd.

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White House Put On Lockdown As Protests Grow Across AmericaWhite House Put On Lockdown As Protests Grow Across AmericaPA Images

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has said he anticipates more charges to come, both against Chauvin and potentially against the other three officers, as the investigation into Floyd’s death continues.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Arrest, Derek Chauvin, George Floyd, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Murder, Now, Racism

Credits

CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    George Floyd protests spread nationwide

  2. NBC News

    Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin charged with murder in George Floyd case