New charges against Minneapolis policemen as protests continue

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prosecutors on Wednesday leveled new criminal charges against four Minneapolis policemen implicated in the death of a black man pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest that sparked more than a week of nationwide protest and civil strife.

Derek Chauvin, jailed Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, was newly charged with second-degree murder.

The added charge, defined under Minnesota law as unintentionally causing another person’s death in the commission of a felony offense, can carry a sentence of up to 40 years, 15 years longer than the maximum sentence for third-degree murder. 

Three fellow officers fired from the Minneapolis police department along with Chauvin the next day were charged on Wednesday – each with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a black former U.S. congressman, has requested bail of $1 million for each of the four former officers charged in the Floyd case.

“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest,” Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Floyd family, said in a statement. 

Ellison told a news conference winning a conviction “will be hard,” noting that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, whose office filed the original charges against Chauvin, is the only prosecutor in the state to have successfully convicted a police officer for murder.

Fully investigating the case “is going to take months,” he said.

The added murder charge filed against one officer already in custody and the arrest of three more accused of playing a role in the killing of George Floyd, 46, came as several nights of escalating unrest gave way to mostly peaceful protests.

New charges against Minneapolis policemen as protests continueThousands of demonstrators massed near the White House lit up their cellphone flashlights and sang along to the 1970s soul tune “Lean on Me,” before resuming a chorus of anti-police chants.