Derek Chauvin Hit With Second-Degree Murder, 3 Other Officers Charged

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Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes during his fatal arrest will now face second-degree murder charges, officials announced Wednesday.

All four of the officers present during Floyd's arrest have been fired but only the officer who kept his knee on the African-American's neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged.

The charge is described as meaning Chauvin, who had his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, did the killing unintentionally but "while committing a felony". Lane, 37, Kueng, 26, and Thao, 34, are now charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

This marks the first time the other three police officers - who have now been taken into custody and will face the same potential maximum sentence as Chauvin - have had any charges against them.

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The other three former officers on the scene of Floyd's murder have also been charged. One former officer has been taken into custody, officials said without identifying him. "We've charged the highest ethical charge that we feel we can at this point".

Mr Floyd's family, in a statement thanking protesters, called the arrests and new charges a "bittersweet moment" - and a "significant step forward on the road to justice".

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office has agreed to take over the prosecution from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, is expected to announce and discuss the new charges Wednesday afternoon. "W$3 e are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd's body was laid to rest".

Later, another officer expressed concern, asking if they should roll Floyd on his side.

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Protesters welcomed new charges - but thousands still marched in cities across the country for a ninth straight night, chanting against racism and police brutality. "We need citizens, to begin rewriting the rules for a just society now". But defence attorney Groshek said prosecutors would likely seek more than that if they secure a conviction against Chauvin. Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said, "I can't breathe", and, "Please, I can't breathe". Kueng, Thao and Lane were not arrested and were reported to have gone to ground. It is unclear whether the demonstrations will continue at the level of they have over the last week. Taylor's mother is calling on the police department to fire the officers involved.

The other three officers are due in court Thursday.

Nationwide, more than 9000 have been arrested in connection with unrest.

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