Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death on Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced.
Minnesota state law says that a person could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison if convicted of third-degree murder. The crime is defined as a person not intending to cause the death of a person who does end up causing that death “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.”
In other words, he’s charged with causing Floyd’s death by perpetrating a dangerous act without regard to Floyd’s life — even if he didn’t set out to do so.
The former Minneapolis police officer was taken into custody Friday.
Video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for around eight minutes on Monday night. The police department initially said Floyd “physically resisted” the officers and that he died after “suffering medical distress.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI are both investigating Floyd’s death.
Chauvin’s arrest comes after three days of protests in the Twin Cities, with the unrest in some areas erupting into violence.
MInneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had called this week for charges to be filed swiftly against the officer who pinned Floyd under his knee. “Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey asked. “If you had done it or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”
In the video, Floyd can be heard saying while he is pinned down, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe.”
Onlookers urged the officer to get off him.
“You’re stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?” a man says. “His nose is bleeding. Look at his nose!” says a woman.
After several minutes, Floyd went silent.
More people began to intervene and called one of the officers at the scene to check for a pulse. Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck, even as he was apparently unresponsive, before paramedics arrived and Floyd is placed on a stretcher.
Medics worked on an unresponsive Floyd in an ambulance, but could not find a pulse after several checks and administering at least one shock to him, according to a report from the Minneapolis Fire Department.
Security footage obtained by NBC from a nearby restaurant showed some of the events leading up to Floyd’s arrest. The video captures two officers arriving at the scene around 8 p.m., removing Floyd from a car parked on the street, handcuffing and questioning him before eventually walking him across the street as another police car arrives.