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Report: 3 more cops to be charged in George Floyd’s death

AMY FORLITI and STEVE KARNOWSKI
The Associated Press
For a second night, York comes together in protest in response to the death of George Floyd, who died after being physically restrained by a Minneapolis police officer a week ago. Tuesday, June 2, 2020. John A. Pavoncello photo

MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors plan to charge a Minneapolis police officer accused of pressing his knee against George Floyd’s neck with second-degree murder, and for the first time will level charges against three other officers at the scene, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd’s May 25 death has sparked protests nationwide and around the world. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired May 26 and initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers involved were also fired but were not immediately charged.

The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison would be upgrading the charge against Chauvin while also charging Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The newspaper cited multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ellison planned an announcement later Wednesday on the case, but his office did not respond to questions about the Star Tribune report.

Attorney Earl Gray, who represents Lane, told The Associated Press that the report “is accurate” before ending the call. Before news of the upgraded charges, an attorney for Chauvin said he was not making any statements at this time. Attorneys for Thao and Kueng did not return messages seeking comment on the charges.

Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd’s death has sparked sometimes violent protests around the world against police brutality and discrimination.

More:More than 1,000 protest death of George Floyd for second consecutive day in York

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers as well as more serious charges for Chauvin, who held his knee to Floyd’s neck, despite his protests that he couldn’t breathe, and stayed there even after Floyd stopped moving. Floyd, a black man, was in handcuffs when he died with his face pressed to the street.

Earlier Wednesday, the Floyd family’s attorney demanded that all four officers be charged.

“He died because he was starving for air,” Ben Crump said. “He needed a breath. So we are demanding justice. We expect all of the police officers to be arrested before we have the memorial here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tomorrow.”

Crump said the other officers failed to protect a man who was pleading for help and said he couldn’t breathe.

Crump pointed to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, which said that while Floyd was complaining he couldn’t breathe, Lane asked Chauvin twice if they should roll him on his side. Chauvin said they should keep him on his stomach.