UPDATE, with Floyd family statement The family of George Floyd is calling for an upgrade in the criminal charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, from 3rd degree murder to 1st degree.
The family also is calling for charges against the other officers at the scene when a handcuffed Floyd begged for his life as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
“We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer,” the family statement reads. Later in the statement, the family says, “For four officers to inflict this kind of unnecessary, lethal force – or watch it happen – despite outcry from witnesses who were recording the violence – demonstrates a breakdown in training and policy by the City.”
“Today,” the statement says, “George Floyd’s family is having to explain to his children why their father was executed by police on video.”
See the entire family statement, released by attorney Benjamin Crump, below.
This morning after protesters set fire overnight to a Minneapolis police station, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The key to an upgrade in charges revolves around a determination of Chauvin’s intent and premeditation to cause Floyd’s death.
In footage of Floyd’s arrest, Floyd pleaded to Chauvin as the officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck. Floyd screamed, “I can’t breathe!” before he died.
County prosecutor Mike Freeman spoke out on Friday, revealing that Chauvin, whom he called “the most dangerous” officer, had been charged with manslaughter and third degree murder. Freeman said that the case was moving along very swiftly and that the other three former officers are under investigation.
The third night of protests, which sometimes turned violent, saw demonstrations spread beyond Minneapolis.
On Thursday night, New York City police arrested 72 people during a protest that began in Manhattan’s Union Square; five people were charged with assaulting officers with street debris. “We didn’t expect this,” Chief Terence A. Monahan said Friday morning in a radio interview. We didn’t expect them to be so confrontational and right off the bat charging police officers and pushing police officers.”
In Los Angles on Thursday, for the second night in a row, a small group, some shouting expletives directed at police, gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. They chanted “we want justice” and “black lives matter.”
On Friday, the LAPD released a statement that affirmed protesters’ First Amendment rights but also contained a warning:
The violence involved dangerous projectiles directed at our people as well as some property damage to businesses in the area. While isolated, if left unchallenged we face the potential of those actions expanding and hurting innocent individuals. This Department will continue to facilitate spontaneous and planned protests. However, dangerous behavior will not be allowed, and the LAPD will take enforcement action on anyone who endanger fellow peaceful protestors, police officers, and the general public.
Chief Moore stated, “We stand with our communities and rebuke any instance of police brutality as well as acts of violence or property damage.”
Finally, in Minneapolis demonstrators set fire to a police building that had been abandoned by officers, after which CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested.
Minnesota governor Tim Walz apologized on Friday morning before saying, “None of us can tackle these problems, if anarchy reigns on the street”
President Donald Trump tweeted about protests in Minneapolis saying, “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The phrase, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” was used by Miami’s police chief in 1967 when he was talking about a crackdown on “slum hoodlums.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also spoke out, saying he had been in touch with the Floyd family. Biden said officers deprived George Floyd of his humanity. “The original sin of this country still stains our nation today,” he went on, “and sometimes we manage to overlook it…But it’s always there. Weeks like this we see it plainly: That we are a country with an open wound.”
Black leaders in Minneapolis held their own news conference on Friday, calling for justice and the arrest of all four of the former officers.
Greg Evans and City News Service contributed to this report.