A former Minneapolis police officer involved in the death of George Floyd has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, the Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday afternoon.
"[Derek] Chauvin has been charged by the Hennepin County attorney office with murder and with manslaughter,” Freeman said during a press conference. "He has been charged with third-degree murder."
Minnesota is one of only three states in the country to have a third-degree murder charge, the others being Florida and Pennsylvania. Also known as depraved-heart murder, a third-degree murder charge is used when someone causes the death of someone without the intent to kill, but with an action that is dangerous and disregards human life.
The charge carries a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years in Minnesota.
Chauvin had been arrested and taken into custody earlier in the day, his arrested being initially announced by Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) called his arrest the "first step towards justice."
Chauvin was one of four officers fired on Tuesday after footage of Floyd’s arrest went viral.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was detained and subsequently died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday. A bystander video recording showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes, while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
The video sparked outrage across the country, setting off three days of violent protests in Minneapolis.
Throughout the week, political figures have called for the arrest of Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd’s death.
"Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said during a press conference Wednesday. "If you had done it or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now."
The unrest erupted on Thursday night when demonstrators forced the Minneapolis Police Department to abandon its 3rd precinct building in the Powderhorn neighborhood where Floyd had been arrested. The precinct, along with other buildings in the area, were later set ablaze by protesters.
The Minnesota National Guard was mobilized shortly before midnight.
Tensions spiked again the next morning when Minnesota state police trying to clear the area arrested CNN reporter Omar Jimenez — who is black and Latino — and his camera crew during a live report.
Jimenez and his crew were released a short while later, with Gov. Tim Walz (D) apologizing for the incident.
In a press conference Friday morning, Walz called for “swift justice” for those responsible for Floyd’s death.
The governor also urged the public to help restore peace to the city.
"These are things that have been brewing in this country for 400 years. We have people out there, putting themselves on the line to try to put out fires, and our firefighters are under attack. Those are the things I am asking you: Help me restore that order," Walz said.