The three cops who watched on as Minneapolis police officer George Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck are now in custody after being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were arrested Wednesday – nine days after Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests.
Lane and Thao were both processed at the city’s Hennepin County jail shortly after 5pm, according to CNN.
Kueng had turned himself in at the same facility earlier in the afternoon. All three posed for mugshots which were later released to the public.
The trio now face a maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced their charges.
Meanwhile, Chauvin – who was originally charged with third-degree murder – has now been slapped with an additional charge of second-degree murder. He now also faces 40 years in prison.
It comes after a week of global outrage and civil unrest across America during which millions called for the officers to be brought to justice.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon: ‘I strongly believe these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr Floyd, his family, this community and this state.’
He said he did not allow public pressure to influence his decision and warned it would be ‘months’ before he and his team build a ‘solid’ enough case to go to trial.
At his press conference, Ellison thanked the public for giving him time to bring the charges.
‘I asked for time for to review all the evidence. The investigation is ongoing at this time. I know it’s asking a lot of people to give us time and yet we did get that time.
‘Together, a very strong experienced team, we reviewed the evidence and we have something to announce today.
‘Thank you for the patience of the people they’ve shown me in pursuit of justice,’ he said.
He added that the case was under investigation and asked for anyone with evidence to come forward with it.
‘We are investigating as quickly as we can and as thoroughly as we can. Every single link in the prosecutorial chain must be strong.
‘Trying this case will not be an easy thing.
‘I say this not because we doubt our resources or our ability but history does show there are clear challenges here and we are going to be working very hard to support that endeavor.
‘To the Floyd family, I say: George Floyd mattered. His life had value and we will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.
‘The very fact that we have filed these charges means that we believe in it.’
He warned the investigation would take ‘months’ and said he wanted to build a ‘solid case’ and not rush a trial.
‘It will take a while and I can’t set a deadline on that, he said.
Ellison added that the charges being brought should not bring an end to the global outrage over injustice that Floyd’s death has caused.
‘A protest can shake a tree and make the fruit fall down but after that fruit is in reach, collecting it and making the jam must follow.
‘The demonstrations and protests are dramatic and necessary but building just institutions is more of a slow grind. We have to begin that work now,’ he said.
The Floyd family called the charges a ‘bittersweet moment’. They wanted Chauvin to be hit with first-degree murder charges.
All four cops were fired when the video surfaced last week but the three others were not charged initially, to the dismay of Floyd and protesters around the world who say they complicit because they did nothing to prevent Floyd’s death.
The case was taken out of the hands of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and handed over to Minnesota AG Keith Ellison earlier this week after a groundswell of outrage over how the case had been handled to date.
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Source: Daily Mail