The Minneapolis police officer who was seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, has been arrested and charged with murder.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after the office gathered enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Freeman did not have immediate details, but said a criminal complaint would be made available later.
The charges come after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct overnight.
Minnesota Attorney-General Keith Ellison said earlier on Friday that he expected charges would be laid against the four officers involved in Floyd’s death.
“I anticipate there will be charges. I hope they’re soon. But that is the prerogative of another prosecuting authority,” he told CNN.
“They are trying to be careful. They are trying to make sure their case is strong and airtight.
“Everybody believes that this is a violation of Mr Floyd. And I believe that everybody wants to see these charges filed as soon as they can be. But again, I do want to say we have seen cases that seem so clear go south.”
Chauvin and three other police officers were fired following Mr Floyd’s death.
A video of the incident showed Mr Floyd being pinned to the ground by Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for more than 10 minutes.
Mr Floyd, 46, could be heard telling the officer, “I can’t breathe”, before losing consciousness.
But another video which has been circulating on social media appears to show multiple officers were on the ground with Floyd as he was arrested.
The video, verified by NBC News, looks to have been filmed from the opposite side of the street and just prior to the initial video.
It shows three officers on top of Mr Floyd, while another stands nearby.
Lawyers for Mr Floyd’s family are now calling for an independent investigation.
More to come.