“My Daddy Changed the world” Daughter of the late great George Floyd says with joy as she watches the masses go to war for his justice. Peaceful protest across the globe some remained peaceful others disrupted by more hate and unjust tactics, but still we stand together. What a time in history where everyone heard the call and stood tall for an on going cause that needed a voice and it was heard. Millions of people around the world watched footage filmed Monday of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, as he cried out that he couldn’t breathe. He later died. The video — and scenes from the chaotic protests against police brutality that have unfolded over the ensuing week — found purchase and provoked responses across the globe. Some leaders took the opportunity to express solidarity with marginalized communities in the United States.
Recent polls have shown all 50 states have agreed all 4 police officers should be charged and arrested and on June 3rd that is what happened. For the first time in american history a civil dispute has brought the country together with a record number of peaceful protest across the nation.
The announcement came more than a week after Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, sparking nationwide protests that call for the end to police violence against black citizens.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended a coronavirus news conference Friday morning by addressing the Canadians who are watching “the news out of the United States with shock and horror.” “Racism is real. It’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,” he said. “We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every day.”A family has won a long awaited arrest of 4 men and their prayers have been answered. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, said on Twitter that the family was gratified with the new charges.
“FAMILY REACTION: This is a bittersweet moment. We are deeply gratified that (Ellison) took decisive action, arresting & charging ALL the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd’s death & upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder,” he said.
Still, he said that he believes Chauvin should be charged with first-degree murder, which requires intent, and the charges only represent the first steps toward justice.
“We cannot celebrate because an arrest is not a conviction and we want justice,” Crump told reporters on Wednesday. “We want whole justice.”
Crump noted neither he or the family have reviewed the footage from the officers body cameras.
At the news conference, Ellison insisted that the protests did not influence the charges.
“I did not allow public pressure to impact our decision-making process,” he said. “We made these decisions based on the facts that we gathered since this matter occurred and made these charges based on the law that we think applies.” Ellison was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz to take over the case from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Sunday.
A former Democratic congressman, Ellison had cautioned against a rush to judgment, citing the difficulty of prosecuting police officers. Officers are rarely charged with crimes for violence against black men, and even in those rare cases, juries have repeatedly shown an unwillingness to convict. The list of such failed cases is long.
In 2017, for example, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.
“We’re confident in what we’re doing, but history does show that there are clear challenges here,” Ellison said.
Walz said in a statement that the new charges are a meaningful step.
“The charges announced by Attorney General Keith Ellison today are a meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd. But we must also recognize that the anguish driving protests around the world is about more than one tragic incident,” he said.
“George Floyd’s death is the symptom of a disease. We will not wake up one day and have the disease of systemic racism cured for us. This is on each of us to solve together, and we have hard work ahead. We owe that much to George Floyd, and we owe that much to each other.”
The former Minneapolis Police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck was charged on Wednesday with a new, more serious count of second-degree murder, and the three other officers on scene during his killing were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. “I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd, his family, our community and our state,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in announcing the charges.
Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The new second-degree murder charge says he killed Floyd “without intent” in the course of committing assault in the third degree, according to an amended complaint.
Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd, and Tou Thao, who stood near the others, were not initially charged. Lane, 37, Kueng, 26, and Thao, 34, are now charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and is being held at the Minnesota Department of Corrections facility in Oak Park. His bail was increased to $1 million Wednesday, court documents show.
Lane, Kueng and Thao were taken into custody Wednesday and are being held on $1 million bail, county jail records show.
Kueng’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, said in a statement that his client “was asked to turn himself in to face charges” Wednesday afternoon and was in custody 15 minutes later.
Second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree murder are punishable by up to 40 years in prison. Manslaughter and aiding and abetting manslaughter are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
ON A DAY OF EARTHQUAKES ON THE WEST COAST, TROPICAL STORMS ON THE EAST COAST AND STILL THE PROTESTORS FIGHT & CONTINUE TO PUSH FORWARD!
CNN’s Konstantin Toropin, Andy Rose, Nicole Chavez, Kara Devlin and Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.