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Breakdown of charges against officers involved in death of George Floyd

Jaclyn Harold
Created: June 05, 2020 11:45 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The amended murder charge for former officer Derek Chauvin earlier this week have some wondering what the charges all mean.

Derek Chauvin was originally charged with 3rd -degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.  But Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem says, the original charge did not make sense.

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"It's really confusing. It's really difficult to understand, in this particular case of course we all saw the video," said Ostrem.

The video seen over and over with Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd while two other officers J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane held Floyd down have been viewed around the world.   A fourth officer, Tou Thao is also seen in the video keeping watch as a crowd gathers at the scene.

"I think everybody saw the video and thought there's a lot more there than just a 3rd-degree murder," said Ostrem.

Ostrem said when you look at murder in the 3rd degree, it means that Chauvin would have accidentally killed Floyd while in a depraved state of mind. He explains that officials may have used that original charge just for means to arrest Chauvin.

"We need to get somebody into custody because there's a huge public safety issue, but sometimes based on just a nugget of information that we know we can go forward with we put out a charge knowing that we're going to get the rest of the reports and be able to amend the charges later," said Ostrem.

With Cup Foods footage showing the former officer kneeling for nearly nine minutes, Ostrem says the amended 2nd-degree murder charge makes more sense.

"Basically causing the death while committing an intentional act. We sometimes call this felony murder, it's intentional, it's an intentional act, it's not premeditated which is first degree," he said.

According to Ostrem bystanders were reported to have asked the officers to check on Floyd, and they denied. Other reporters have indicated that Kueng also may have questioned Chauvin about the force being used, in which his concerns were overlooked. All providing evidence that an intentional crime was committed.

"Then we look at the actions of those three officers," said Ostrem

The other two officers in the video assisted in the intentional act of assault, according to Ostrem by holding Floyd down. While the fourth officer faces charges for simply not acting, therefore assisting.

Ostrem says the entire series of events will be played out in court from the moment the officers approached Floyd, leading up to his death. Prosecutors will have to prove that intent and the role each of the other officers played in Floyd's death.

Each of the four men could be facing up to 50 years in prison if convicted of their charges.

Chauvin will make his first appearance in court since his arrest on Monday June 8.

Here is a link to the charges filed against former officer Derek Chauvin: https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Communications/2020/06/03_GeorgeFloyd.asp


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