After days of intense protests in Minneapolis, disgraced police officer Derek Chauvin has finally been arrested to be held on charges in the death of George Floyd. However, it is still unclear exactly what those charges will be.
Chauvin is the recently fired officer who was seen in the now-viral video in which Floyd was killed. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he gasped for air and begged for his life. He has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 19 years, and in that time, he has been involved in multiple shootings in which people were killed, and has had multiple excessive force complaints.
Police initially said Floyd was resisting arrest and had a medical incident. However, surveillance video obtained by CBS News showed Floyd cooperating with the officers, and video of his death clearly shows that he was not resisting.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who killed George Floyd, has been arrested in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 29, 2020
Due to the graphic video evidence and little cause for violence, many people around the United States are calling for murder charges to be filed against the officer. Police officers in the US rarely face serious jail time for murders committed on the job, regardless of protests. Most legal experts are suggesting that the maximum sentence that Chauvin could get is manslaughter, because murder would require the act to be premeditated.
However, it recent days it was revealed that Floyd and Chauvin shared the same shift at a local nightclub, and there is a very real possibility that the two knew each other. If it can be proven that there was some type of prior relationship between the two, then it is possible that Chauvin could face a murder charge, but thus far there have been no other leads on that potential accusation.
While it is not clear exactly how the altercation began, the Minneapolis Police Department said that they were responding to a “forgery in progress.” It was later clarified that Floyd was accused of attempting to pass off a $20 bill at a local deli, or that he matched the description of someone who had. Although, he was not apprehended at the deli, but arrested during a traffic stop, which casts further confusion on the story.
While the officer was arresting Floyd, he kept his knee on the back of his neck and forced him to remain face down on the pavement, as Floyd struggled to breathe, and begged for his life with the remaining air that he could muster. It is not proper protocol to kneel on the back of a person’s neck, because that is an extremely sensitive area, and a lot of damage can be done if enough force is applied to certain areas of the neck. Also, there is no need to take such measures with a man who is already in handcuffs.
While the bystanders were pleading with the officers to go easy on him, one of the officers on the scene can be heard responding “He’s talking, he’s fine.”
So far, Chauvin is the only officer involved in the arrest who has been taken into custody.