In a press conference Wednesday, Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the elevation of charges against former Minneapolis office Derek Chauvin, who has sparked protests after kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and killing him last Monday.
Chauvin now faces an additional charge of second degree unintentional murder. The announcement follows Chauvin’s arrest Friday, when he was charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Ellison also announced that former officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, the other officers involved, are also being charged with aiding and abetting murder.
“I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state,” Ellison said, who also stated that public pressure was not a factor in the decision making process.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the three former officers, all of whom are expected to be in custody by Wednesday afternoon, according to Drew Evans, the superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, who also spoke at the meeting. One of the former officers has already been apprehended.
“The very fact that we have filed these charges means that we believe in them, but what I do not believe is that one successful prosecution can rectify the hurt and loss that so many people feel. The solution to that pain will be slow and difficult work of constructing justice and fairness in our society. That work is the work of all of us.”
According to Ellison, obtaining a conviction will be difficult.
“County Attorney Freeman is the only prosecutor in the state of Minnesota who has successfully convicted a police officer for murder,” he said.
In response to a question regarding the timeline of the case, Ellison stressed the importance of being thorough for the sake of the investigation.
“In order to be thorough, this is going to take months. I don’t know how many,” Ellison said.