According to court documents, new charges have been announced against all of the sacked police officers present at the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The charge against Derek Chauvin has been elevated to second-degree murder. At the same time the other three officers face counts of aiding and abetting murder..
Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd, and Tou Thao, who stood near the others, were not initially charged. Lane, 37, Kueng, 26, and Thao, 34, are now charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Two autopsies on Floyd determined that he died by homicide. Minneapolis Police
What do the charges mean:
First and second degree murder under Minnesota law require proof that the defendant intended to kill. First degree in most cases requires premeditation, with second-degree more related to crimes of passion.
A third-degree murder conviction would not require proof that the defendant wanted the victim to die, only that their actions were dangerous and were carried out without regard to human life.
A second-degree murder conviction can carry a sentence of up to 40 years, 15 longer than for third-degree.
The killing has sparked huge protests across the US against racism and the police killings of black Americans. The vast majority of demonstrations over the past eight days have been peaceful, but some have turned violent and curfews have been imposed in a number of cities.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said on Twitter that the latest charges were “another important step for justice”.
In an interview with CNN Floyd family lawyer Benjamin Crump told CNN that they believe the charge against Derek Chauvin should be first-degree murder. He said the family had been told that the investigation was ongoing and the charges could change further.
Sources: – Los Angeles Times – BBC – CNN – ABC News –
By Alex Ammohostianos