As protesters continued to march in cities across the nation, the fate of Derek Chauvin was still being decided. Chauvin was the Minnesota police officer who was kneeling on the neck of George Floyd during his detainment, in the video now seen across the world. Two separate autopsies, while disagreeing on the cause, confirmed Floyd’s death was manslaughter. Chauvin was arrested last week on charges of third degree murder, which essentially means a death was caused unintentionally while detaining a suspected felon. Floyd was detained because he matched the description of a suspect the Minnesota police were looking for, who was accused of buying cigarettes with a fake $20 bill at a nearby convenience store. It wasn’t confirmed that Floyd was the suspect, or that the suspect even knew the bill was counterfeit. Oftentimes, they don’t know.
The charge of third degree murder was not good enough for the millions of people outraged by this and past examples of racism in our country. The protests continued as people demanded justice for Floyd.
This afternoon, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that Chauvin’s charge would be elevated to second degree murder. This charge puts more intent to kill behind one’s actions, or at least an indifference to the killing by the accused. Protesters rejoiced as this news was heard.
The other three officers who were on the scene will also be charged in aiding Floyd’s death, as their inaction contributed. Two of the officers involved were new on the force, young, and didn’t have any former complaints. Chauvin, along with another officer, had multiple former complaints and, in Chauvin’s case, a history of aggressive behavior. Star Tribune gives a deeper look at the four officers involved.