United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald held a press conference along with police and FBI on their investigation into the death of George Floyd.
MINNEAPOLIS – Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested Friday, days after video circulated of him holding his knee to George Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes before Floyd died.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Chauvin was in custody and facing third-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Subsequent charges are possible and charges for the other officers involved are anticipated, Freeman said.
The arrest comes after Minneapolis residents awoke Friday to smoke billowing, fires burning and police lining their streets after another intense night of protests following Floyd’s death.
Protests, some violent, also cropped up across the nation. Demonstrations are anticipated in many cities Friday night and through the weekend.
Stay up-to-date on the Floyd George story by signing up for USA TODAY’s Daily Briefing. Here are the latest developments:
- Vice President Joe Biden said he spoke with Floyd’s family: “With our complacency and silence, we are complicit in perpetuating these cycles of violence.”
- Floyd and Chauvin knew each other before the fatal encounter – they worked together at a bar, a city official and a bar owner said.
- Floyd’s family has hired a medical examiner to conduct an independent autopsy, their Ben Crump attorney says.
- President Donald Trump criticized the city’s mayor, called protesters “thugs” and said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter later put a public interest notice on that tweet saying it violated rules about “glorifying violence.”
- A CNN reporter and crew were arrested early Friday and later released.
- Protests and rallies took place across the country overnight. In Louisville, Kentucky, a protest to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in March, turned violent. Seven people were shot but are expected to recover.
Here’s what we know Friday:
County attorney says Chauvin facing murder, manslaughter charges
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that his office was still reviewing evidence in Floyd’s death that but they have “sufficient admissible evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt” on both a third-degree murder and a manslaughter charge.
Freeman said the charges were similar to those filed against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the shooting death of Justine Damond.
Asked why Chauvin was not arrested and held before charges filed, Freeman said, “This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer.”
Freeman would not comment on what specific piece of evidence led to Chauvin’s arrest but said that his office had reviewed footage of Floyd’s death and the officer’s body-worn camera, spoken to witnesses and obtained a preliminary report from the medical examiner.
“We have now been able to put together the evidence that we need. Even as late as yesterday afternoon, we didn’t have all that we needed,” Freeman said.
Freeman said he would not speculate about the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest but said he anticipates charges.
Activists speak out on the other 3 officers
Activists said that one arrest was not enough. At a press conference inside Minneapolis city hall, attended by former NBA payer Stephen Jackson and actor Jamie Foxx, community members called for the arrest of all four officers involved in the incident.
“We are not satisfied with one officer,” said lawyer and minister Nekima Levy Armstrong. “All of them were complicit in his murder, and they all need to help held accountable, just as if it was four black men that killed somebody.”
Biden, Obama speak out
Former Vice President Joe Biden, in a video address Friday, said he spoke with George Floyd’s family, saying, “It’s time for us to take a hard look at the uncomfortable truths. It’s time for us to face that deep open wound in this nation.”
Added Biden: “With our complacency and silence, we are complicit in perpetuating these cycles of violence.”
In a statement, former President Barack Obama said he, his friends and millions of other Americans share “anguish” after Floyd’s death.
While it’s natural to want the U.S. to return to “normal” amid the coronavirus, Obama said “normal” for many Americans is “being treated differently on account of race.”
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal,'” he added. “If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.”
Minnesota Gov. Walz: ‘It’s time for us to clean our streets’
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called on the public to end violent protests and looting that take away peaceful demonstrations honoring Floyd.
“As we put a presence in the street to restore order, it is to open that space to seek justice and heal after what happened,” Walz said at a news conference.
Walz addressed criticism about a lack of police presence overnight during the protests, saying that the local leadership needed to make specific requests as to the mission for state troopers and national guard members.
“You will not see that tonight,” Walz said. “There was no social control. … That is an abject failure that cannot happen.”
“The chapter that has been written this week is one of our darkest chapters,” Walz said.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison echoed the governor’s message of addressing structural problems within policing in the state, adding that prosecution of the officers involved in Floyd’s arrest alone will not lead to justice.
“We’re not just going to fix the windows and sweep up the glass,” he said. “We’re going to fix a broken society.”
Floyd, Chauvin worked security at same bar
George Floyd and fired police officer Derek Chauvin knew each other before the fatal encounter during which Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes as Floyd said he could not breathe, a city official and a bar owner said.
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins told CNN and MSNBC that Floyd and Chauvin were long time co-workers who worked security at the same bar, El Nuevo Rodeo.
Speaking with KSTP-TV, former bar owner Maya Santamaria said Chauvin worked off-duty security outside for 17 years while Floyd worked inside the bar. Santamaria said she sold the club a few months ago.
More on Derek Chauvin: Minneapolis police at center of George Floyd’s death had a history of complaints
Floyd’s family arranges independent autopsy
George Floyd’s family has hired a medical examiner to conduct an independent autopsy, the family’s lawyer said Friday.
“We’ve just spoken recently with the district attorney,” attorney Ben Crump said in a press conference. “We’re going to take custody back of his body, and we’re bringing in Dr. Michael Baden to perform an independent autopsy.”
Crump said the family suspected city authorities of trying to establish a false narrative through the autopsy report.
“The family does not trust anything coming from the Minneapolis Police Department. How can they?” Crump said.
Baden is a forensic pathologist known for investigation high-profile deaths, including that of Jeffrey Epstein. Baden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also Friday, the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Floyd issued a joint call for a congressional hearing and a national task force aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability in the U.S.
“While we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support, it’s important that now – more than ever – we use our voices to enact change, demand accountability within our justice system and keep the legacies of Breonna, Ahmaud and George alive,” the families said in a joint statement.
– Grace Hauck
George Floyd video adds to trauma: ‘When is the last time you saw a white person killed online?’
Minneapolis woke up to burnt buildings, streets heavy with police
Multiple fires burned across Minneapolis on Friday morning as armed National Guard members and police blocked intersections in the epicenter of the protest zone. A small army of heavily armored Minneapolis State Patrol troopers took back control of the Third Precinct area overnight, after protesters and rioters overran the police substation and set it ablaze.
The Minneapolis Fire Department, protected by at least 100 officers, fought to contain a fire at the MIGIZI Native American youth center, doors away from a liquor store that was burned to its framing overnight.
The Minneapolis Police Department said Friday that the areas within three blocks around its Third Precinct building would be closed until further notice “for public safety reasons.”
“It’s just so frustrating to watch things burn. It’s such a feeling of helplessness,” said Andrew Papacosta, 61, who lives in an apartment adjacent to the burned-out liquor store.
Papacosta said he and his neighbors protected their building for the two previous nights but fled the area Thursday when it became too unsafe.
“We just knew that once the sun went down … it’s tough because there’s this feeling of dread. I haven’t slept in three days,” he said. “I totally applaud the protesters protesting the death of George Floyd. But I also live in this community and it’s so sad to see the peaceful protests transform overnight into mayhem.”
More news on the police death of George Floyd
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and crew released after being arrested
Gov. Tim Walz apologized Friday for the arrest of a CNN reporter and crew. “I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen,” he said.
Correspondent Omar Jimenez was reporting live on “New Day” when police advanced toward him and his crew. Jimenez told police that he was a reporter, showed his credentials and asked where they would like him and the crew to stand so they could continue reporting and be out of their way.
“Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way,” Jimenez said. “Wherever you want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
A response by police could not be heard as Jimenez explained the scene. An officer then told Jimenez he was under arrest. Jimenez asked why he was under arrest, but was taken from the scene. The rest of the crew was then arrested as the live shot continued with the camera on the ground.
CNN said later Friday that Jimenez had been released and that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized for his arrest.
“There was a moment, minutes after it happened where things started to sink in a little bit,” Jimenez said on CNN after his release. “I was just as confused as you.”
“They eventually came back with our belongings … unclipped our handcuffs and that is when we were led out,” he said, adding, “There was no, ‘Sorry, this is a big misunderstanding.'”
Protest erupted in Louisville with 7 shot overnight
Gunfire erupted after hundreds of protesters took to the streets demanding justice for Taylor – one of several deaths of unarmed African Americans drawing national attention in recent weeks.
It began as a peaceful demonstration with several hundred people marching through downtown, chanting Taylor’s name and calling for the officers involved in her death to face charges. But as the sun set, tensions rose. Police in riot gear clashed with hundreds of protesters outside of Louisville Metro Hall, officers releasing clouds of tear gas and firing a barrage of rubber bullets at the crowd.
By the end of the evening, dozens of vehicles and buildings had sustained property damage. Crowds shook a police prisoner transport van, nearly toppling it. As of Friday afternoon, the police department said there were no leads in the case.
– Mandy McLaren, Darcy Costello, Cameron Teague Robinson, Bailey Loosemore and Sarah Ladd
Breonna Taylor shooting: What to know about the FBI, Louisville police investigations
More protests spread around US
Demonstrators gathered across the country Thursday night to demand justice for George Floyd. Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Columbus and Memphis, among other cities, saw crowds convene, chanting “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace.”
In Columbus, Ohio, protesters were met by police with pepper spray as the crowd broke windows and looted buildings
In Phoenix, hundreds of peoples rallied around City Hall and then marched through downtown to the state Capitol and back for hours throughout Thursday evening into the early morning hours of Friday. Chants continued through the night with relative calm. Later in the evening, rocks and water bottles were lobbed at police, who fired back with pepper spray and rubber bullets.
New Yorkers massed in Union Square and marched through the streets chanting “I can’t breathe” and waving signs with slogans including “Police brutality and murder must stop.” In Denver, hundreds of demonstrators stood in the downtown streets and chanted as darkness fell outside the Colorado State Capitol, where protesters spray-painted graffiti and broke car windows. Police in riot gear fired gas canisters and used rubber bullets.
– Perry Vandell in Phoenix, Jim Woods in Columbus and The Associated Press
Overnight: Fires, protesters overtake 3rd precinct
Hours after hundreds of protesters flooded Minneapolis streets – shouting “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace; prosecute the police” – a group of demonstrators overran MPD’s Third Precinct, setting “several fires” and forcing officers to evacuate “in the interest of the safety,” according to a police statement.
Protesters celebrated – cheering, honking car horns and setting off fireworks – as fires scorched at the precinct. For hours, police ceded the area to the protesters as windows were smashed, fires lit and buildings looted.
Protesters could be seen setting fire to a Minneapolis Police Department jacket, according to the Associated Press.
Video from Minnesota Public Radio reporter Max Nesterak shared on Twitter showed large crowds around the precinct with rubble and debris thrown about. Nesterak tweeted that Postal Service vehicles were being hijacked.
In nearby St. Paul, more than 170 businesses were damaged or looted after dozens of fires were set, the city’s police department said. No serious injuries were reported.
Trump calls Mayor Jacob Frey ‘weak,’ Twitter responds with notice
As the city was erupting, President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter, calling the city’s mayor “very weak” and saying that “thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.”
In a tweet just before 1 a.m. ET, Trump said he couldn’t “stand back & watch this happen to a great American City.”
“A total lack of leadership,” Trump tweeted. “Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”
Twitter later put a public interest notice on that tweet.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” the social media company posted.
Trump’s social media order: Rule means agencies can review whether Twitter, Facebook can be sued for content
Target closes 24 stores in Minneapolis-St. Paul area ‘until further notice’
After multiple videos of looters causing chaos inside a Target store circulated on social media Wednesday night, the Minneapolis-based retailers on Thursday announced closures for 24 of its stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
All of the closures are “until further notice,” Target said in a statement.
“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing our community,” the company said. “At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores until further notice. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal.”
Earlier Thursday, dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting.
Contributing: Associated Press; Jordan Culver, Joel Shannon, Erick Smith, Cara Richardson and Steve Kiggins, USA TODAY.
Read more about George Floyd, the shooting and other news
Family and friends want to remember George Floyd as a kind, friendly and goofy man. The 46-year-old security guard was killed after an arrest.
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