Derek Chauvin, the policeman who detained George Floyd has been arrested and charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder.
On Friday, a prosector formally charged the policeman who had detained Floyd, an unarmed African American, and pinned him down with his knee to his throat.
The 46-year-old pleaded with the officer during his arrest shouting that he couldn’t breathe while Chauvin allegedly ignored Floyd’s request according to eyewitness accounts. Floyd subsequently died from asphyxiation at the scene following “sustained pressure” on his neck and back by the officer according to an independent autopsy carried out this week. It also concluded that underlying health conditions may have also contributed to Floyd’s sudden death.
The Minnesota policeman’s actions in the arrest of Floyd have led to nationwide protests and curfews being enacted in many cities across the United States. Among the worst affected cities include Los Angeles, which imposed a strict curfew after seeing a level of unrest similar to the scale of the 1992 LA riots.
In response to the violent protests, President Trump said that state governors had been “weak” in the face of rising unrest and made an ultimatum, saying he would be prepared to mobilize troops to quell protests if they failed to do their duty.
Attorney Mike Freeman of Hennepin County confirmed that the police officer had been taken into custody at a news briefing with evidence and camera footage showing his actions in the arrest leading to the death of George Floyd.
The cellphone footage was widely shared and led to a resurgence of protests in Minnesota while Governor Tim Walz urged for calm and restraint. In recent days, there have been scenes of violent clashes between law enforcement and protestors with looting and police cars being set alight.
If convicted, the Minnesota policeman faces up to a maximum of 25 years in prison. The Minneapolis Police Department confirmed that Chauvin along with three other officers had been fired Tuesday.
Gov. Walz stressed that officers who use force “unnecessarily” are committing criminal acts but urged restraint and peaceful protests in the wake of a national outcry following the death of George Floyd.