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Officer Charged in Floyd Case; Groups Demand More Justice

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Protests erupted in Minneapolis and St. Paul this week following the police killing of George Floyd. (Adobe Stock)
Protests erupted in Minneapolis and St. Paul this week following the police killing of George Floyd. (Adobe Stock)
 By Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN - Producer, Contact
May 29, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS - Following days of protests and chaos in the Twin Cities, authorities announced on Friday that one of the officers involved in the death of George Floyd has been charged. However, activists say justice will not be served until all those involved are in custody.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, was arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman faced criticism for not acting sooner - both because of the graphic nature of the video, and because Chauvin is white and Floyd was black. But Freeman said swift action was taken, for a type of case that usually takes several months.

"We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job, to protect us," he said. "They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably. We have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt."

Despite the charges, justice activists believe the other three officers seen on video also should be charged because of their actions and failure to intervene.

According to Freeman, the other three are being investigated and additional charges are possible. City leaders announced shortly after Monday's incident that all four officers had been fired.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota is part of a broad coalition of groups demanding justice for Floyd's death. CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said Freeman was too slow to take the initial action, adding that those speaking up won't be satisfied until all the officers are charged and held without bail.

"All of these officers should be in jail and should be away from the public, and should be treated as the criminals they were on that Monday," Hussein said.

Hussein is also calling on Gov. Tim Walz to appoint a special prosecutor in the case rather than having it overseen by Freeman. And the FBI is investigating whether George Floyd's civil rights were violated.

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