Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says his office had already prosecuted and convicted a police officer for “unreasonable use of deadly force.” But in this case there is other evidence to consider that may not support criminal charges.
He added that his office has received calls and emails asking, “What are you gonna do about the murder of George Floyd?”
“We are going to investigate it as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands,” Freeman said. “Sometimes that takes a little time, and we ask people to be patient. We have to do this right.”
“That video is graphic and horrific and terrible, and no person should do that,” he continued. “But my job in the end is to prove that he violated criminal statute. And there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. We need to wade through all of that evidence to come through with a meaningful determination, and we are doing that to the best of our ability.”
Please stay home. Please do not come here to protest. Please keep the focus on George Floyd, on advancing our movement, and on preventing this from ever happening again. We can all be in that fight together.
— Melvin Carter (@melvincarter3) May 28, 2020
Federal and local investigators urged residents in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. to remain calm on Thursday, as violent protests continued following the death of George Floyd.
However, they stopped short of announcing any charges against the police officers involved in the case, saying they needed more time to do their jobs.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in police custody last Monday, after a white officer was shown on video pinning him to the ground with a knee on the man’s neck for several minutes.
Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the police force, has a service record that includes three shootings and nearly 20 complaints.
Floyd, who was heard on the video saying he could not breathe, died later the night of the shooting.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired on Tuesday for the incident.
“It’s imperative that the community understands how seriously we are taking this,” U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said during a news conference Thursday evening.
Investigators added that county, state and federal offices are working together on separate investigations into Floyd’s death.
Freeman, MacDonald and other officials asked protesters to keep their demonstrations peaceful and to avoid harming innocent individuals and businesses.
“We support peaceful demonstration,” Freeman said. “Violence hampers our case, it takes valuable police resources away from our investigation, and it also harms innocent people.”
President Trump offered his thoughts on Thursday, saying, “I feel very, very badly. That’s a very shocking sight.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has joined protesters in calling for charges to be filed, based on the video evidence.