Police Officers Charged With Murder In George Floyd Death: (CNN) Three of the four officers arrested in connection with George Floyd’s death will make their first court appearance Thursday afternoon, more than a week after the incident, which has sparked widespread anger and protests.
Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao will appear before a judge for the first time following their arrests Wednesday. They face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The charges follow those first brought against Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground by his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But on Wednesday prosecutors charged him with a more serious count of second-degree murder.
Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, while Thao stood nearby. It’s unclear whether they will appear in court in person or via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic. While officers are rarely convicted of on-duty killings, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he’s confident the evidence supports new and more serious charges.
“George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His family was important. His life had value,” Ellison said. “We will seek justice for him and for you, and we will find it.” Meanwhile, Floyd’s family and friends will gather for a memorial at North Central University in Minneapolis, where Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.
North Carolina and Houston also plan memorials in the coming days.
Protests go on hours after arrests
Protests showed no signs of abating hours after officials arrested and charged the three additional officers. Most protests remained peaceful Wednesday, unlike previous nights, when violence and looting broke out. Demonstrators chanted Floyd’s name, marched and called for an end to police brutality.
In Minneapolis, at the spot where Floyd spent his last moments begging for his life, a sense of calm prevailed Wednesday night. A man rolled up a piano at the scene and played John Legend’s “All of Me.” Another man stepped up to the piano afterward and played “Imagine” by John Lennon.
People cried, clapped and sang along. Others brought free food, water and diapers for protesters, CNN’s Sara Sidner reported.
In New York, nearly 100 people were arrested when scuffles broke out between police and crowds in downtown Manhattan, where crowds remained early Thursday, long past the 8 p.m. curfew. Protesters mostly knelt and sat on the ground with their hands raised.
In the nation’s capital, protesters marched through the early morning and quietly faced off with National Guard troops, before gathering a few blocks from the White House. The city’s mayor said the curfew would not be enforced as long as the protesters remained peaceful.
There were no arrests made in Washington, D.C., Wednesday night, according to Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham. Newsham said there were no police injuries and there was no damage to police property.
In New Orleans police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who police say defied orders to not walk across the Crescent City Connection, a bridge that stretches across the Mississippi River.
“We were compelled to deploy gas … in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers,” the New Orleans Police Department tweeted.
The protests against Floyd’s death have touched a nerve across the world and sparked solidarity demonstrations in cities such as Paris, highlighting the issue of racism in different countries.
Final county autopsy contradicts family’s
In the meantime, officials released more details on Floyd’s autopsy. His death was due to cardiopulmonary arrest — or the stopping of his heart — according to the final autopsy results released Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
His neck was compressed when the officer’s knee was on it for more than eight minutes, the report says, but does not conclude that it directly caused his death. The final report from the medical examiner says Floyd had bruises and cuts on his head, face, mouth, shoulders, arms and legs.
But it finds no evidence that any of those injuries directly would have killed him. The autopsy says Floyd had heart disease and a history of high blood pressure. A preliminary toxicology report found moderate levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine. The county autopsy also indicates that Floyd had tested positive for coronavirus in April.
But an independent autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family disagreed with the county’s conclusion, saying he died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure.”