The police officer seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, was arrested Friday after three days of often-violent protests that resulted in fires and looting across parts of Minneapolis.
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said state investigators arrested Derek Chauvin, who was one of four officers fired this week, and charged him with 3rd degree murder–which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. The state attorney who would oversee any prosecution on state charges, whose home was also the site of protests, was scheduled to provide an update later Friday.
News of the arrest came moments after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s protests and called for swift justice for officers involved. Walz said the state would take over the response to the protests and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
“Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smouldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said, adding. “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world – and the world is watching.”
The governor cited a call he received from a state senator who described her district “on fire, no police, no firefighters, no social control, constituents locked in houses wondering what they were going to do. That is an abject failure that cannot happen.”