Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in George Floyd case

Rachel Perez is pictured with bruising around her eye and a plaster on her forehead, injuries sustained from rubber bullets during protests yesterday, while standing a distance from a burning vehicle at the parking lot of a Target store as demonstrations continue after a white police officer was caught on a bystander's video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A Minneapolis police officer who pinned an unarmed black man with a knee to the throat before the man died has been arrested and charged with murder, a prosecutor said on Friday, after three nights of violent protests in the Midwestern city sparked by the death.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who is seen on a bystander’s cellphone video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck on Monday before he died, has been charged with third-degree murder, Mike Freeman, Hennepin County attorney, told a news briefing.

“He is in custody and has been charged with murder,” Freeman said of Chauvin, who is white. “We have evidence, we have the citizen’s video, the horrible, horrific, terrible thing we’ve seen over and over again.”

Freeman said a detailed complaint would be made available later on Friday.

The cellphone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, “Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

Earlier on Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called for an end to the violent protests that have rocked Minneapolis, and said the state’s National Guard would work to restore order following three nights of arson, looting and vandalism.