Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd has been charged with murder

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WTVO) — Minnesota authorities say the police officer who knelt on George Floyd has been arrested.

Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced the arrest of former officer Derek Chauvin on Friday.

Minneapolis County District Attorney Mike Freeman said Chauvin has been charged with Third Degree Murder and Manslaughter.

Under Minnesota law, Third Degree Murder is defined as, “Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree.”

Freeman said, “This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer. Normally these cases take 9 months to a year.”

Chauvin was the police officer seen in a video shared around the world kneeling on Floyd’s neck during an arrest.

Floyd later died, sparking protests and riots in Minnesota and around the country.

Minneapolis Police officers were called to the intersection of Chicago Avenue and E. 38th Street around 8 p.m. on Monday for a report of someone using a forged document at a grocery store.

Police said Floyd resisted arrest and suffered a medical incident, but a bystander’s video shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe.

Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired the next day.

Freeman said the investigation is ongoing involving the other three officers, saying, “We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”

The arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct that had been abandoned by officers.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s violent protests. Walz said the state would take over the response and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.

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