Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin charged with third-degree murder

George Floyd's family is suing the four former Minneapolis Police officers involved in his death, including Derek Chauvin, and the city of Minneapolis.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

Chauvin was captured on video Monday evening kneeling on Floyd’s neck just before his death. Floyd’s death sparked international outrage and set off protests across the Twin Cities.

Three other officers involved in the incident have not been charged, and the investigation is ongoing, Freeman said.

“We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” he said.

The case moved with “extraordinary speed,” Freeman said, adding that this is the fastest his office has ever charged a police officer.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who had called for the officers to be arrested on Tuesday, issued a statement praising the charges. 

“Today’s decision from the County Attorney is an essential first step on a longer road toward justice and healing our city,” the statement read. 

Floyd was remembered by friends and family as a kind, gentle man.

“Any time I had a problem, he was always nice,” former coworker Gerald Chambers said on Tuesday, describing Floyd as soft-spoken. “He was never violent with individuals. He was a big guy, he was intimidating by his size, but he’s a very nice guy.”

Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross told the Star Tribune that he loved Minneapolis. 

“He came here [from Houston] and stayed here for the people and the opportunities. … Floyd was a gentle giant. He was about love and about peace,” Ross said.

Chauvin, a 19-year MPD veteran, and the three other officers involved in the incident were fired Tuesday.

Kare 11 reported that 13 complaints had been filed about Chauvin since 2003, none of which resulted in discipline. Throughout his career, Chauvin was involved in multiple officer-involved shootings, the Star Tribune reported.

In 2006, Chauvin and five other officers responded to a stabbing where an officer shot and killed Wayne Reyes, 42, after he allegedly pulled a gun on them. And in 2008, Chauvin shot and injured Ira Latrell Toles after Toles allegedly grabbed for an officer’s gun during a domestic violence call.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn is a Minnesota native and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.
Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.