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Prosecutors charge 3 more officers in George Floyd’s death

  • ABOVE: Quincy Mason, center, the son of George Floyd, and family attorney Ben Crump, left, kneel Wednesday as they visited the site of a memorial in Minneapolis where Floyd was arrested on May 25 and died while in police custody. LEFT: People raise their hands in prayer during a service in Indianapolis on Wednesday. AP photographs — Jim Mone (above) and Micheal Conroy (left)

  • Demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Manuel Balce Ceneta

  • A cyclist passes the Shops of Soho, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in New York. Graffiti on the boarded up store reads "Store Empty! Nothing Left!". People broke into stores Tuesday night following peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

  • After a new mural, center, of George Floyd is added to a growing memorial of tributes, Trevor Rodriquez sits alone at the spot where Floyd died while in police custody, Tuesday June 2, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. "I have been out every single night protesting peacefully, just trying to support everything," said Rodriquez. "I didn't want to come here just on a rush, so I had to just take a moment to pay my respect." (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Bebeto Matthews

  • People pass broken windows, left, and photographs of essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, right, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. People broke into stores Tuesday night following peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was restrained while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

  • Dominique Bryant, 23, wearing the Black and Proud T-shirt, joins demonstrators as they protest the death of George Floyd, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin

  • Quincy Mason, son of George Floyd, listens as family attorney Ben Crump, left, addresses a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, while they and some Floyd family members visited the site in Minneapolis. Floyd, a black man died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) Jim Mone

  • People raise their hands in prayer during a prayer service in Indianapolis, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Elected officials, community leaders and religious leaders gathered to pray for the city. Protester as expected to gather for the sixth straight night in Indianapolis since the death of George Floyd, a black man who was died in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michael Conroy

  • Demonstrators chant Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, during a protest over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was restrained by Minneapolis police. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Matt Rourke

  • A protester and a police officer shake hands in the middle of a standoff during a solidarity rally calling for justice over the death of George Floyd Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in New York. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) Wong Maye-E

  • In this photo taken with a wide angle lens, demonstrators stand in front of Los Angeles City Hall during a protest over the death of George Floyd Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Mark J. Terrill

  • Demonstrators greet members of the National Guard as they march along Hollywood Boulevard, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, during a protest over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was restrained by Minneapolis police. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) Ringo H.W. Chiu

  • LaTonya Floyd, third from left, participates in a march to protest the death of her brother, George Floyd in Houston on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) David J. Phillip

  • Sister Quincy Howard, center, a Dominican nun, protests the arrival of President Donald Trump to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Washington. Many demonstrators present said they were dismayed when Trump staged a visit to the historic St. John's Church across from the White House and held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters. "I'm here in protest," says Howard, "of violence, of inciting violence, of systemic racism and... Jacquelyn Martin

  • Pedestrians pass the burnt ruins of the Minnehaha Liquor store near the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) John Minchillo

  • Demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin

Published: 6/3/2020 6:50:54 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors on Wednesday expanded their case against the police who were at the scene of George Floyd’s death, charging three of the officers with aiding and abetting a murder and upgrading the charges against the officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck to second-degree murder.

The most serious charge was filed against Derek Chauvin, whose caught-on-video treatment of the handcuffed Floyd spurred worldwide protests. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All four were fired last week.

The new charges were sought by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who called the protests unleashed by the death “dramatic and necessary” and said Floyd “should be here and he is not.”

“His life had value, and we will seek justice,” Ellison said.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Floyd’s family, called it “a bittersweet moment” and “a significant step forward on the road to justice.” Crump said Elison had told the family he would continue his investigation into Floyd’s death and upgrade the charge to first-degree murder if warranted.

Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

The move powerfully punctuated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bouts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, rampant thefts and arson in some places.

Earlier Wednesday, in a visit to a makeshift shrine at the street corner where Floyd died, his family had again called for the arrests of Lane, Kueng and Thao, a demand echoed by their attorney.

“We are demanding justice,” Crump said.

Some of the rockiness of the days since Floyd’s death May 25 dissipated on Tuesday night, with demonstrations continuing around the country, but without major reports of violence.

Curfews and efforts by protesters to contain earlier flare-ups of lawlessness were credited with preventing more widespread damage to businesses in New York and other cities overnight.

“Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we’ve had the last few days and moving to a better time,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

New York police said about 280 people were arrested on protest-related charges Tuesday night, compared with 700 a day earlier. Nationwide, more than 9,000 have been arrested in connection with unrest.

At least 12 deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out.

Some tense incidents continued Tuesday night, but were far less prevalent than in preceding days. Police and National Guard troops used tear gas, flash-bang grenades, nonlethal rounds and other means of dispersing crowds near a police precinct in Seattle, near Centennial Park in Atlanta and at demonstrations in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Minnesota has opened a civil rights investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a pattern of discrimination against minorities.

Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world.

Pope Francis called for national reconciliation and peace, saying he has “witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest” in the U.S.

“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” he said Wednesday.

President Donald Trump has pushed the nation’s governors to take a hard line against the violence, saying Tuesday that “lowlifes and losers” were taking over New York’s streets.

He again tweeted Wednesday: “LAW & ORDER!”

More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence.

In Philadelphia, a statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo was removed by the city early Wednesday after repeatedly being targeted by vandals. Rizzo presided over a police force widely accused of racism and brutality in the 1970s.

Some protesters framed the burgeoning movement as a necessity after a long list of killings by police.

“It feels like it’s just been an endless cascade of hashtags of black people dying, and it feels like nothing’s really being done by our political leaders to actually enact real change,” said Christine Ohenzuwa, 19, who attended a peaceful protest at the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul.

“There’s always going to be a breaking point. I think right now, we’re seeing the breaking point around the country.”




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