On Wednesday, Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman and Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that a second-degree murder charge has been filed against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in addition to his previous charges. Additionally, the other three former officers involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd were charged and taken into custody.
According to court records, 37-year-old Thomas Lane, 34-year-old Tou Thao and 26-year-old J Alexander Kueng are each facing charges of unintentional aiding and abetting second-degree murder as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
They are all currently being held at Hennepin County Jail. Chauvin is being held at Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility, facing second-degree and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter charges in the incident. All four officers have bail set at $1 million each.
“I want to begin with a reminder and that is that we’re here today because George Floyd is not here. He should be here, he should be alive but he’s not,” Ellison said while announcing the additional charges earlier Wednesday. “About nine days ago the world watched Floyd utter his very last words, ‘I can’t breathe.'”
The following complaints are combined and detailed below:
According to the complaint against Lane, he and Kueng arrived at the scene first on a call of a counterfeit $20 bill being used at Cup Foods. Upon arrival at 8:08 p.m. on May 31, and while talking with Floyd, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle in front of Cup Foods at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street, Lane pulled his handgun toward Floyd and directed Floyd to show his hands. When Floyd put his hands back on the steering wheel, Lane put his gun back in its holster.
While Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Lane ordered Floyd out of the car, put his hands on him and physically pulled him out of the vehicle. It was then that Floyd was handcuffed.
The complaint states Floyd walked with Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Lane’s orders. When Floyd sat down, he said to Lane “Thank you, man,” and was calm. In a conversation that lasted just under 2 minutes, Lane asked Floyd for his name and identification. He then asked Floyd if he “was on anything” as Lane noticed there was foam at the edges of his mouth. He then told Floyd he was arresting him for passing counterfeit currency.
At 8:14 p.m., Kueng and Lane stood Floyd up and attempted to put him in a squad car. The complaint notes Floyd stiffened up and fell to the ground, telling officers he was not resisting and did not want to get in the back seat, and noted he was claustrophobic.
Soon thereafter, Chauvin and Thao arrived on scene. Lane, along with the other officers, made several attempts to get Floyd in the backseat of the squad car. Repeatedly, the complaint states that Floyd told officers he could not breathe while they attempted to force him in the back seat. A little over 5 minutes later, Chauvin pulled Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car and Floyd went to the ground, face down and was handcuffed. Kueng held Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs. Chauvin then placed his knee in the area of Floyd’s head and neck, to which Floyd’s response was “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeatedly, “Mama” and “please.” At one point, Floyd said, “I’m about to die.” Chauvin, Kueng and Lane remained at their positions on top of Floyd while Thao stood alongside.
One of the officers said, “You are talking fine” to Floyd as he continued to move back and forth underneath the officers. Lane asked the officers, “should we roll him on his side?” and Chauvin responded, “No, staying put where we got him,” according to the complaint. Lane noted to Chauvin he was “worried about excited delirium or whatever,” and Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”
Despite his comments, Lane took no actions to assist Floyd, to change his position or to reduce the force the officers were using against Floyd, according to the complaint.
Floyd’s slight movements and sounds decreased, until about 8:24 p.m. when he stopped moving. A minute later, Lane asked, “want to roll him on his side.” Kueng then checked Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” None of the officers moved from their positions during and after that declaration.
A couple of minutes later, Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck. Once emergency responders arrived, the officers placed Floyd on a gurney and the ambulance left the scene. Floyd was pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
The Hennepin County Medical Center did not find any physical evidence that Floyd died of mechanical asphyxia. Instead, the medical examiner determined that Floyd had died from cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by authorities. A toxicology report showed the presence of fentanyl and evidence of recent methamphetamine use, adding an autopsy revealed Floyd had arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease. The effects of the officers’ restraint of Floyd, his underlying health conditions and the presence of the drugs contributed to his death, the report said. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression,” and concluded the manner of death was homicide.
In conclusion, the complaint states Chauvin, Lane and Kueng subdued Floyd to the ground for nearly 9 minutes. During this time, Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe and his physical condition continued to decline such that force was no longer necessary to control him. Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Floyd was non-responsive.
The complaint goes on to note that police officers are trained that this type of restraint of Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm and Floyd’s death as well.
Initial court appearances for Lane, Thao and Kueng are set for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Chauvin will make his first appearance on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
To see each official complaint, see below. Some private information has been retracted from the documents.