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Derek Chauvin charge upped to second-degree murder; three other cops charged

As of Wednesday, Derek Chauvin is facing second-degree murder charges.

As of Wednesday, Derek Chauvin is facing second-degree murder charges. Ramsey County

All four former Minneapolis Police Department officers involved in the killing of George Floyd have been charged with felonies, and Derek Chauvin, who kept his knees on Floyd's back and neck for nine minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder. 

The higher charge for Chauvin, who has been in police custody since last Friday, comes with a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. The charge alleges Chauvin murdered Floyd "without intent" but "while committing... a felony offense."

Chauvin continues to face a count of second-degree manslaughter. Legal experts had speculated the third-degree charge initially brought against Chauvin could be nearly impossible to prove.

Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and Alexander Keung have all been charged with one count each of aiding and abetting a second-degree murder (a felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison) and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter (a felony with maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine). All four officers were fired last week, though police union head Bob Kroll told members in a letter the police federation could fight for them to get their jobs back

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.

The Star Tribune reported the imminent announcement ahead of Ellison's 3 p.m.  press conference, while Tony Webster tweeted links to the criminal complaints. 

The complaints give a more expansive summary of Floyd's cause of death, which the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office listed as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." 

 

The complaint concludes:

Officers Chauvin, Lane, and Kueng subdued Mr. Floyd prone to the ground in this manner for nearly 9 minutes. During this time, Mr. Floyd repeatedly stated he could not breathe and his physical condition continued to deteriorate such that force was no longer necessary to control him. Officer Chauvin had his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police officers are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous. Officer Chauvin's restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd's losing consciousness... and Mr. Floyd's death as well."

We'll update this post as more information becomes available.