05:40 GMT10 July 2020
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    Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police Department officer behind George Floyd's death, has been charged with second-degree murder. The three other cops who were present at the scene of the crime have been charged with aiding and abetting.

    Court records reveal that Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin's charge has also been upgraded to second-degree murder; however, he still faces the original third-degree murder charge and a charge of second-degree manslaughter.

    According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, Thao stood by Floyd as he repeatedly said he could not breathe and appeared more concerned with nearby traffic than with Floyd's wellbeing.

    Thao "became concerned about a number of citizens who had gathered and were watching the officers subdue Mr. Floyd, and potential traffic concerns, and so the defendant stood between those citizens and the three officers restraining Mr. Floyd," the complaint, obtained by USA Today, reads.

    If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years behind bars. Aiding and abetting sentencing guidelines vary depending on several factors including level of involvement and criminal history.

    Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has issued arrest warrants for the three other officers involved in Floyd's death and has also requested that bail be set at $1 million for all four officers involved.

    In a statement Wednesday, Floyd family lawyer Benjamin Crump called the update a "bittersweet moment" and expressed gratitude on behalf of the family that all of the officers involved in Floyd's death now face charges.

    A statement released by Crump and Floyd's family reads: "We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support by Americans in cities across the country, and we urge them to raise their voices for change in peaceful ways. Our message to them is this: Find constructive and positive ways to keep the focus and pressure on. Don't let up on your demand for change."

    Crump also told the press that Floyd's family has been told that the investigation is still ongoing and that the charges against the officers are still susceptible to change.

    ​However, in a CNN interview Wednesday, Crump also said that Floyd's family believes Chauvin should face a first-degree murder charge.

    Floyd was killed on May 25 after Chauvin refused to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck while holding him down on the ground. Disturbing cellphone footage captured Chauvin openly ignoring Floyd's pleas, even after he repeatedly said that he could not breathe. 

    At a new conference, Keith Ellison, Minnesota's attorney general, told reporters that the new charges were in the interest of justice, and explained that the evidence available supports the new second-degree charge against Chauvin. 

    "George Floyd mattered ... his life had value, and we will seek justice," Ellison said.

    A criminal complaint released last Friday said that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd was unresponsive for two minutes and 53 seconds while the officer’s knee was still pressed on his neck. The other three officers did not intervene.

    On Monday, the Hennepin County medical examiner concluded that Floyd's death was an "asphyxia-related homicide" caused by "neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain." ​The official autopsy results followed an independent examination ordered by Floyd's family that also ruled that his death was an asphyxia-related homicide.

    Officers came in contact with Floyd after dispatchers received a call about a man trying to use forged money at a grocery store.

    Floyd's death has stirred an ongoing wave of protests and demonstrations against police brutality across the United States.

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    charges, Police brutality, George Floyd killing, murder, George Floyd
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