An announcement has been made regarding the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd.
On Monday, May 25, Floyd was pronounced dead after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned the 46-year-old to the ground by kneeling on Floyd’s neck. On May 29, after video footage of Floyd’s death sparked a call for justice, Chauvin was taken into custody and has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. At the time Chauvin was taken into custody, the three other officers involved—J.A. Keung, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao—were fired from the police department but not charged.
Now, Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced that the three additional officers have officially been charged. Ellison also upgraded the charge against Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.
According to court records obtained by E! News, Keung, Lane and Thao are each facing two felony charges: Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Murder and Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Manslaughter.
The first charge comes with a maximum sentence of no more than 40 years, while the second charge comes with a maximum sentence of no more than 10 years, or payment of a $20,000 fine.
All three were arrested Wednesday and remain in custody.
Per a probable cause statement included in the documents, an individual called 911 to report that a man used a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase merchandise at a corner store. Officers Lane and Keung arrived to the scene wearing activated body worn cameras (BWC’s) and were directed to a parked car around the corner.
According to BWC footage, the officers approached the vehicle. Floyd was seated in the driver’s seat, a known adult male was seated in the passenger’s seat and a known adult female was seated in the back seat. The document states that, “As Officer Lane began speaking with Mr. Floyd, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands. When Mr. Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel, Lane put his gun back in its holster.”
Lane, according to the documents, “pulled” Floyd out of the car and handcuffed him.
“Once handcuffed,” the documents state, “Mr. Floyd walked with Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Lane’s direction. When Mr. Floyd sat down he said ‘thank you man’ and was calm. In a conversation that lasted just under two minutes, Lane asked Mr. Floyd for his name and identification. Lane asked Mr. Lloyd if he was ‘on anything’ and noted there was foam at the edges of his mouth.”
After informing Floyd that he was being arrested for “passing counterfeit currency,” the documents state that Lane and Keung they attempted to walk Floyd to their squad car.
“As the officers tried to put Mr. Floyd in their squad car, Mr. Floyd stiffened up and fell to the ground. Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting but did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic,” the documents continue.
Officers Chauvin and Thao then arrived in a separate squad car. From there, the documents state that the officers “made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of their squad car by pushing him from the driver’s side. As the officers were trying to force Mr. Floyd in the backseat, Mr. Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily sit in the backseat and the officers physically struggled to try to get him in the backseat.”
At 8:19 p.m., the documents state that Chauvin pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car.
The documents then describe, “Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed. Officer Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back and Officer Lane held his legs. Officer Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, ‘I can’t breathe’ multiple times and repeatedly said, ‘Mama’ and ‘please,’ as well. At one point, Mr. Floyd said ‘I’m about to die.’ Officer Chauvin and the other two officers stayed in their positions.”
“One of the officers said, ‘You are talking fine’ to Mr. Floyd as he continued to move back and forth. Lane asked, ‘Should we roll him on his side?” and Officer Chauvin said, ‘No, staying put where we got him.’ Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.’ Officer Chauvin said, ‘That’s why we have him on his stomach.’ Officer Chauvin and Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s right hand up. None of the three officers moved from their positions,” the documents state.
At 8:25 p.m., the BWC footage suggests Floyd ceased breathing or speaking. The documents continue, “Lane said, ‘Want to roll him on his side.’ Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, ‘I couldn’t find one.’ None of the officers moved from their positions.”
Two minutes later at 8:27 p.m., the documents state that Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck.
“An ambulance and emergency medical personnel arrived, the officers placed Mr. Floyd on a gurney, and the ambulance left the scene. Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center,” the documents state.
In response to this announcement, attorney Benjamin Crump shared the Floyd family’s reaction via social media.
“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” Crump wrote on Instagram. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.”
On June 1, Floyd’s cause of death was revealed in an independent autopsy, citing that his death was “caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”
“The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function,” the report, released to E! News from George’s family attorney, stated. “From all the evidence, the doctors said it now appears Mr. Floyd died at the scene.”
Hours after the independent autopsy was released, The Hennepin County Medical Examiner also shared their results.
In their press release, obtained by E! News on June 1, Floyd’s cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.”
Additionally, the medical examiner stated that the injury occurred when Floyd “experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).”
Other significant conditions, as stated by medical examiner, included, “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.” Floyd’s manner of death was deemed to be homicide.