The former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder over the death of African-American man George Floyd will appear in court on Monday US time.
Derek Chauvin was filmed pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly said “I can’t breathe” on May 25.
His death has sparked mass protests across the United States, in Europe and Australia over police brutality and racism, with protesters chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe”.
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with a second-degree murder charge added later.
The three other officers involved – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
In Minneapolis, the city council has vowed to dismantle police saying it was clear the 800-member agency was not working in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” City Council President Lisa Bender said Sunday.
“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”
Mayor Jacob Frey said he doesn’t support the “full abolition” of the force, despite calls from some protesters to “defund the police.”
The state of Minnesota has also launched a civil rights investigation gainst police and banned chokeholds and neck restraints.
The mass protests have taken place in more than 140 cities have been marred by some violence and looting, however in recent days have been largely peaceful.
Floyd’s death is not the first time the US has experienced outrage over the death of a black man at the hands of police.
In Ferguson, Missouri – where a white officer in 2014 fatally shot Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old – then-Attorney-General Eric Holder said federal authorities considered dismantling the police department. The city eventually reached an agreement short of that but one that required massive reforms.
Also in 2014, Staten Island grand jury cleared a New York police officer of criminal wrongdoing in the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died in a chokehold.
Meanwhile an investigation is underway into the death of Breonna Taylor, 26, who was shot by police eight times when they broke into her apartment executing a “no knock” warrant two months ago.
– With wires