- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2020

The family of George Floyd called Friday for ex-cop Derek Chauvin to be charged with first-degree murder instead of third-degree murder in the “brutal killing” of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis.

Ben Crump, attorney for the Floyd family, released a statement calling the arrest of the former Minneapolis police officer “a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice.”

“We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge,” said the statement. “And we want to see the other officers arrested. We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer.”

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Friday charged Mr. Chauvin, 44, with third-degree murder and manslaughter for kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes during a Monday arrest for forgery.

An autopsy found that Mr. Floyd, 46, died of underlying health problems exacerbated by the police restraint, but not asphyxiation, according to the preliminary findings of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

Mr. Floyd, who had been accused of paying for merchandise with a phony $20 bill, told the four officers at the scene that he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive after about six minutes, according to a viral video of the incident.

“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,” said the statement.

The death of Mr. Floyd, who is black, during a confrontation with the white officer prompted protests, rioting and looting in Minneapolis, culminating Thursday night with the burning down of the Third Precinct building.

The protests spread nationwide Friday night to multiple cities, including Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., sparking clashes with police.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued an 8 p.m. curfew for Friday and Saturday even as police and National Guard prepared for a fourth night of rioting.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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