"Don't think for a minute that Derek Chauvin would have been arrested if people in Minneapolis weren't standing up and fighting."


Julia Conley

Common Dreams
"Don't think for a minute that Derek Chauvin would have been arrested if people in Minneapolis weren't standing up and fighting."

Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department this week after being filmed kneeling on George Floyd's neck, was arrested Friday afternoon, Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Following three days of intense demonstrations in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd,  police officer Derek Chauvin—one of four officers involved in the killing—was taken into custody by state authorities Friday afternoon and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Chauvin was filmed kneeling on George Floyd, a black man, while he was unarmed and handcuffed in Minneapolis on Monday. The video of Floyd's arrest—over his alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill—showed him saying he couldn't breathe while witnesses demanded that the officers stop the attack. 

BREAKING: Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is charged with murder in the third degree and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says. The investigation into the killing of George Floyd continues pic.twitter.com/IkMpbbewUl

— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) May 29, 2020

Chauvin and the three other officers at the scene—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng—were fired after the killing, but human rights advocates across the country and protesters in Minneapolis and other cities this week demanded the officers be charged with murder.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters that the investigation is ongoing and that the other officers may be charged, but said his office had charged Chauvin with "extraordinary speed."

"We have never charged a case in that kind of timeframe," Freeman said.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro tweeted that a record of slow-moving criminal investigations is nothing for the county to boast about.

He probably thinks this statement makes his office look better, but it does the opposite. https://t.co/ZTENE0dmOv

— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) May 29, 2020

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd's family, called Chauvin's arrest "a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice."

"We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge," said Crump in a statement. "And we want to see the other officers arrested. We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer. The pain that the black community feels over this murder and what it reflects about the treatment of black people in America is raw and is spilling out onto streets across America."

Organizers in Minneapolis said after the arrest that they were "not satisfied with one officer" being detained, and protests continued Friday. 

BREAKING - MPD Officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested in the death of #GeorgeFloyd.
I am at a news conference in Minneapolis City Hall with black leaders in Minnesota and friends of George Floyd. They found out the news in the moment and this is their response. #WCCO pic.twitter.com/JNOE2zm1IG

— Marielle Mohs (@MarielleMohs) May 29, 2020

"Don't think for a minute that Derek Chauvin would have been arrested if people in Minneapolis weren't standing up and fighting," tweeted Jonathan Smucker of the advocacy group PA Stand Up.

The ACLU tweeted that an independent investigation into Floyd's killing must follow the arrest.

Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd, was arrested.

This is not enough. We have much further to go — including swift, independent prosecution conducted by the Attorney General's office.

The fight to dismantle a violent, oppressive system has just begun. https://t.co/46o1tx0Cqo

— ACLU (@ACLU) May 29, 2020

"We have much further to go," the group said. "The fight to dismantle a violent, oppressive system has just begun."

Julia Conley is a Common Dreams staff writer.

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