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New charges expected against former police officers over George Floyd death

Molly O'Toole and Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS -- The three other Minneapolis police officers at the scene of George Floyd's death will face charges of aiding and abetting murder, the Minnesota attorney general is set to announce Wednesday, according to reports and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

State Attorney General Keith Ellison is expected to also elevate charges against former Officer Derek Chauvin, who was recorded on video kneeling on Floyd's neck as he begged for air, to second-degree murder.

"This is another important step for justice," Klobuchar said on Twitter.

All four officers, including Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, were fired shortly after Floyd's death. Chauvin was initially charged last week with third-degree murder and manslaughter before Gov. Tim Walz asked Ellison to take over the prosecution.

The expected announcement of additional charges comes as Floyd's family began arriving in the city for his memorial on Thursday and visited the site where Chauvin was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck.

On Tuesday, Walz announced that the state's Department of Human Rights will investigate the Minneapolis Police Department and filed a "civil rights charge related to the death of George Floyd."

The Police Department that same day released personnel records for Chauvin. The former officer, who had worked with the department since October 2001, had been disciplined for only one incident during his tenure, despite being the subject of of internal affairs investigations by the department at least 17 times.

In that August 2017 incident in Longfellow, a neighborhood just south of downtown Minneapolis, Chauvin was accused of pulling a woman out of her car after stopping her for going 10 mph over the speed limit. The woman filed the complaint the next day.

According to internal records, Thao has been investigated at least six times by the department. None of those investigations resulted in discipline, records show. One case is pending.

 

The Minneapolis Police Department declined to confirm or comment on the additional charges against the fired officers.

Before being asked to lead the prosecution, Ellison, a former U.S. congressman for Minnesota, said of Floyd's death: "George Floyd mattered."

"The available video appears to show George Floyd vocally pleading for his life," Ellison said. "He appears to be informing officers that he couldn't breathe while the officer's knee was on his neck. He appeared to present no danger. Video shows onlookers who were disturbed pleading for the officer to give medical attention. Those calls appear to have gone unheeded as Mr. Floyd became unresponsive.

"Whenever someone dies at the hand of law enforcement or state power, we owe it to everyone affected to investigate thoroughly."

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