The office of Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison plans to charge Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng on Wednesday with aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder, according to reporting by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that HuffPost confirmed with a law enforcement source.
The Hennepin County prosecutor had already arrested Derek Chauvin, the former police officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck, last week, charging him with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Ellison’s office is also planning to announce that it would be upgrading the third-degree murder charge to second-degree murder.
Minnesota governor Tim Walz tapped Ellison, a former progressive congressman and civil rights attorney, on Sunday to take over the case from Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Freeman. Walz said he made the decision to put Ellison in charge after consulting with Floyd’s family.
Floyd was killed on May 25 after the officers arrested him for allegedly attempting to make a purchase at a store with a fraudulent $20 bill. As seen in horrifying video of Floyd’s arrest, Chauvin used his knee to hold Floyd down by the neck even as Floyd pleaded: “Please, man, I can’t breathe.”
Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd, who was apparently in handcuffs, even after he stopped speaking and moving. He remained there as onlookers shouted at other officers to attend to Floyd.
In another video, three other officers can be seen crowding around Floyd, who is on the floor, during the arrest.
According to the Minneapolis Police Department, Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital.
Chauvin, Thao, Lane and Keung were fired, but protesters and community leaders demanded that the officers be arrested and charged with murder.
The Minneapolis Police Department initially claimed Floyd was physically resisting arrest. However, surveillance footage obtained by CNN which captured a portion of the arrest does not support that claim.
During an interview with CNN last week, Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd called for the protests to remain peaceful but he also said demonstrators were “torn and hurt because they’re tired of seeing Black men die. Constantly, over and over again.”
“These officers, they need to be arrested right now. They need to be arrested and held accountable about everything because these people want justice right now,” Philonise Floyd told CNN, calling for the death penalty.