MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, one of four officers fired after George Floyd’s death, was arrested and charged with murder Friday.
Chauvin, the former officer seen in a bystander video Monday kneeling on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. He had worked with the Minneapolis police for 19 years.
“We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job to protect us,” Freeman said. “They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably.”
Conviction on a third-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
Freeman called the speed in which the arrest was made was “extraordinary.”
“We have never charged a case in that kind of time frame, and we can only charge a case when we have sufficient admissible evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. As of right now, we have that,” Freeman said. “We have charged this case as quickly, as sufficient admissible evidence to charge it has been investigated and presented to us. “
Freeman said subsequent charges are possible, but he declined to elaborate on possible charges against the other three fired police officers.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, in a tweet, called the arrest the “first step towards justice.”
“Police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and is in custody for the murder of George Floyd. The first step towards justice,” Klobuchar tweeted.
The arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated as demonstrators set fires inside and outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct building late Thursday night.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who pleaded for order Friday morning, earlier acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s protests.
“Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said. “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world — and the world is watching.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.