JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with murder Friday.
Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case.
“What Minnesota had said in this initial charging is the officer did not have premeditation, he did not go into this incident desiring to kill this victim,” explained Jacksonville attorney Gene Nichols.
According to the criminal complaint, Chauvin allegedly disregarded the concerns of another officer, who wanted to roll Floyd onto his side as he was being held down.
The papers also said that an autopsy revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death. The exam concluded that the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death.
Floyd’s family was seeking an independent autopsy.
“Now if he didn’t die from that, what did he die from?” Nichols said. “And if there’s a determination that he died from something other than the injury to his neck, being choked out, not being able to breathe, the argument is going to be the officer was still participating in his legal duty and he did not die because of what the officer was doing."
Nichols said there’s not enough at this point for the case to go in front of a jury. He said that most likely both sides will hire experts to analyze the autopsy.
“Regardless of what the autopsy is saying, the officer put his knee in Mr. Floyd’s neck,” said Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP.
A statement from the family of George Floyd and their attorney says in part: “We need the city of Minneapolis in cities across the country to fix the policies and training deficiencies that permitted this unlawful killing… For four officers to inflict this kind of unnecessary, lethal force or watch it happen despite outcry from witnesses who were recording the violence demonstrates a breakdown in training and policy by the city.”
Jacksonville’s Fraternal Order of police posted to its Facebook page, saying what the officer is accused of is despicable and inhumane. It said, “His actions were well below, not only what our standards are in our profession, but what we expect of ourselves as humans.”
Protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody spread around the United States on Friday.
Protests were largely peaceful as demonstrators marched in the streets from Los Angeles to New York, but in Atlanta, demonstrators set a police car ablaze and broke windows at CNN’s headquarters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report