Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested four days after he allegedly killed black man George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes during his arrest which has sparked violent protests nationwide.
The 44-year-old white cop was taken into custody by investigators from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Friday afternoon, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced.
He has been charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter.
The arrest comes after four days of violent protests and riots across the city, that have since spread over to other states, demanding justice for 46-year-old Floyd.
Floyd was seen in a video on Monday pleading that he couldn’t breathe as Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck until he lost consciousness and later died.
Keith Ellison, the Attorney General, told CNN earlier that officials were ensuring they have ‘a very strong case’ before announcing charges.
‘Everybody believes that this is a violation of Mr Floyd,’ Ellison said.
‘And I believe that everybody wants to see these charges filed as soon as they can be. But again, I do want to say we have seen cases that seem so clear go south.’
Chauvin and the other three officers in Floyd’s arrest – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – were fired but say they don’t plan to cooperate.
Prosecutors on Thursday had warned there was ‘evidence that does not support criminal charges’ in the case of four cops accused of killing George Floyd, as they say police can use a ‘certain amount of force – but not excessive’.
At a press conference Mike Freeman, county attorney for Hennepin County, condemned the actions of white cop Derek Chauvin as ‘horrific and terrible’, but said prosecutors needed to determine if he used ‘excessive’ force when he knelt on the black man’s neck for eight minutes until he passed out and later died.
‘That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that,’ he said.
‘But my job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute – but there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.’