Prosecutors have warned there is ‘evidence that does not support criminal charges’ in the case of four cops accused of killing George Floyd, as they say police can use a ‘certain amount of force – but not excessive’.
At a press conference Thursday, Mike Freeman, county attorney for Hennepin County, condemned the actions of white cop Derek Chauvin as ‘horrific and terrible’, but said prosecutors needed to determine if he used ‘excessive’ force when he knelt on the black man’s neck for eight minutes until he passed out and later died.
‘That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that,’ he said.
‘But my job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute – but there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.’
Freeman pleaded for patience from the Minneapolis community ravaged by Floyd’s death as he warned that the investigation ‘can’t be rushed’ for fear of a repeat of the Freddie Gray case in 2015 where all charges were dropped against cops involved in the black man’s death.
Mike Freeman, county attorney for Hennepin County, and US Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald dashed hopes that an arrest had been made over the death of the 46-year-old father of two in a press conference Thursday
Police officers are allowed to use reasonable force on citizens to restrain them during arrest but the force cannot be ‘excessive’.
Prosecutors must now prove that this force was ‘excessive’ in order to bring criminal charges against Chauvin.
Outrage is building across the nation over how pinning Floyd down by his neck as he gasps for breathe and begs the cop to stop could ever be considered ‘reasonable’.
Freeman did not provide any detail over what the ‘other evidence’ could be that provides a defense for Chauvin’s actions but said his office now had to ‘wade through’ it before charges can be brought.
‘My business is ‘is it criminal?’ and that’s what we have to prove,’ he said.
Freeman said he understood that people want swift action but assured the public that ‘we just can’t rush this’.
He compared the case to the death of 25-year-old Gray in Baltimore in 2015, where Gray fell into a coma and died of a spinal cord injury while in a police van.
Six Baltimore police officers were suspended with pay but all charges were dropped against them and no one was charged.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Thursday he believes George Floyd would still be alive today if he had been a white man
Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the white officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck to be criminally charged on Wednesday. Derek Chauvin (pictured) was seen pinning him down in video footage that was widely shared on Tuesday
CCTV footage from a nearby restaurant shows part of the altercation between Floyd and the officers on the scene. A handcuffed Floyd sits on the ground as a police officer, who was not seen in the original viral video, speaks to him before picking him up and holding him against the wall
It comes as:
- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to the city Thursday
- State troopers were forced to intervene after protests and riots left Minneapolis in a state of widespread destruction by Thursday morning
- Cup Foods deli owner revealed an employee called the police after Floyd allegedly paid with a fake $20 bill
- The family, including Floyd’s brother Philonise, called for the four officers to be charged and now plan to have an independent autopsy performed
- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey publicly called for white Officer Derek Chauvin to be criminally charged and said he would ‘still be alive if he were white’
- A Minneapolis man spoke out describing how Chauvin beat and shot him at close range during a domestic violence call in 2008
- The University of Minnesota cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department, including contracting officers to provide security at home football games
- New video footage cast doubt on claims Floyd resisted arrest, showing two cops forcibly removing him from his car and him complying with officers
- A break-off protest in the streets of downtown LA Wednesday night left one man injured after he fell from a moving police cruiser
- The second day of Minneapolis protests escalated into violence Wednesday as cops and protesters clashed
- Looters and rioters ransacked stores including Target, AutoZone and Walmart and set buildings on fire
- A looter was shot dead in Minneapolis Wednesday night and officers had arrested a man for homicide
‘It was a rush to charge and a rush to justice and all those people were found not guilty,’ he said.
Freeman warned that history could repeat itself with the Floyd case if the investigation is rushed.
‘We have to do this right, we have to prove it in a court of law,’ he said.
‘We can’t rush justice as justice cant be rushed.’
His comments came as authorities dashed hopes that an arrest had been made over the death of the 46-year-old father of two when they called a press conference to announce a development in the investigation Thursday only to leave attendees waiting two hours before finally announcing they had no new developments to share.
‘We thought we would have another development to tell you about… but we don’t,’ admitted US Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald.
The morning after George Floyd protests erupted in violence and fires in Minneapolis, protesters began assembling at the residence of Derek Chauvin Thursday
Officers guard the white cop’s home. Floyd’s death has sparked outrage in Minneapolis, with protesters taking to the streets for a third day Thursday
She refused to confirm what the ‘development’ would have been but McDonald said ‘it mattered’ and ‘I hope to tell you soon’.
‘I wouldn’t have wasted your time coming here,’ she said.
MacDonald echoed Freeman’s words saying that a ‘police officer in the nature of the job has within their scope of duty the ability to use the right amount of force but not excessive force’.
‘That’s what we’re looking at – the issue of excessive force,’ she said.
She sought to reassure Floyd’s family that the investigation into his death is the ‘top priority’ and said that President Trump and US Attorney General Bill Barr are both ‘actively monitoring the investigation’.
Protests entered their third day in Minneapolis and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz deployed the National Guard to the city as questions continue to mount over why Chauvin continues to walk free.
A protester clashes with police as protests mount across the city Thursday. State troopers have been forced to intervene after violent protests and riots broke out in the city and left one looter dead
One person holds up a sign saying ‘I can’t breathe’ – one of the last things Floyd said as he begged Chauvin to stop before he died. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to the city Thursday as it braces for a third night of violence
The four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd were fired Tuesday. They were named as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng.
Mayor Jacob Frey had announced the firings on Twitter, saying: ‘This is the right call.’
Frey said he considers Floyd’s killing to be murder and had publicly called for Chauvin to face arrest.
‘I’m not a prosecutor, but let me be clear. The arresting officer killed someone,’ he told CBS Thursday. ‘He’d be alive today if he were white.’
‘The facts that I’ve seen, which are minimal, certainly lead me down the path that race was involved.’
Floyd’s death has sparked outrage in Minneapolis, with protesters taking to the streets for a third day Thursday.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Thursday he believes George Floyd would still be alive today if he had been a white man
State troopers have been forced to intervene after violent protests and riots broke out in the city and left one looter dead.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to the city Thursday as it braces for a third night of violence.
Shocking images Thursday morning showed the widespread destruction left overnight after Wednesday night’s protest escalated into violence as cops and protesters clashed and stores including Target, AutoZone and Walmart were ransacked and set on fire by looters.
A suspected looter was shot dead outside the Cadillac Pawn shop and the suspected shooter had been taken into custody Wednesday night.
Break-off protests demanding justice for Floyd’s death and calling for an end to police brutality against African-American communities have started springing up in Los Angeles and New York.
EXCLUSIVE: A new start turns to a tragic end for George Floyd, who moved to Minneapolis determined to turn his life around after being released from prison in Texas
George Floyd moved to Minnesota to start a new life shortly after being released from prison in Texas, but his pursuit of a better life ended tragically when he died during a violent arrest, according to court records obtained by DailyMail.com.
Floyd was left gasping for breath when a white officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes while arresting him for allegedly paying with a fake $20 bill at a convenience store on Monday evening.
None of the officers could have been aware of Floyd’s more than a decade-old criminal history at the time of the arrest.
The 46-year-old moved to the city in 2014 and worked as a bouncer at a local restaurant, leaving behind his past in the Houston area.
Floyd had made changes to his lifestyle and a recent video has emerged of him pleading with younger generations to make good choices and to stop gun violence.
He had been there himself years ago, first being arrested in his 20s for theft and then a later arrest for armed robbery before he turned his life around.
George Floyd moved to Minnesota to start a new life shortly after being released from prison in Texas, but his pursuit of a better life ended tragically when he died during a violent arrest, according to court records obtained by DailyMail.com
Floyd had been sentenced to five years in prison in 2009 for aggravated assault stemming from a robbery where Floyd entered a woman’s home, pointed a gun at her stomach and searched the home for drugs and money, according to court records
Floyd had at least five stints in jail. In one of the charging documents, officials noted Floyd had two convictions in the 1990s for theft and delivery of a controlled substance, but it is not clear if Floyd served any time for either of those offenses
All four cops involved in his arrest have been fired as outraged citizens across the country demand they be charged over the father-of-two’s death. None of the officers could have been aware of Floyd’s more than a decade-old criminal history at the time of the arrest
The final straw for Floyd came after serving five years in prison in 2009 for aggravated assault stemming from a robbery in 2007 where he entered a woman’s home, pressed a gun into her stomach and searched the home for drugs and money, according to court records.
Floyd pleaded guilty to the robbery where another suspect posed as a worker for the local water department, wearing a blue uniform in an attempt to gain access to the woman’s home, according to the charging document.
But when the woman opened the door, she realized he was not with the water department and attempted to close the door, leading to a struggle.
At that time, a Ford Explorer pulled up to the home and five other males exited the car and went up to the front door.
The report states the largest of the group, who the victim later identified as Floyd, ‘forced his way inside the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room area of the residence.
‘This large suspect then proceeded to search the residence while another armed suspect guarded the complainant, who was struck in the head and sides by this second armed suspect with his pistol while she screamed for help.’
Not finding any drugs or money at the house, the men took jewelry and the woman’s cell phone and fled in their car. A neighbor who witnessed the robbery took down the car’s license plate number.
Later, police tracked down the car and found Floyd behind the wheel. He was later identified by the woman as the large suspect who placed a gun against her stomach and forced her into her living room, the document states.
The 46-year-old was working as a bouncer at a local restaurant and known in local music circles, leaving behind his past in the Houston area where he had just been released from jail
The final straw for Floyd came after serving five years in prison in 2009 for aggravated assault stemming from a robbery where he entered a woman’s home, pressed a gun into her stomach and searched the home for drugs and money, according to court records (pictured)
He served time stemming from a charge of aggravated robbery with a firearm in August 1998 (pictured)
Floyd served 10 months at Harris County jail for a theft offense
Floyd pleaded guilty to the first degree felony and was sentenced in April 2009 to five years in prison.
Prior to that, Floyd was sentenced to 10 months in state jail for possession of cocaine. He had been charged in December 2005 for having less than one gram of the controlled substance.
However, a few months later the charge was updated to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, amending the amount Floyd allegedly had to more than four grams of cocaine.
But according to court records, Floyd was able to have the charge reverted back to possession of cocaine less than a gram.
Floyd had two other cocaine offenses, receiving an eight month-sentence stemming from an October 2002 arrest and was sentenced to 10 months from a 2004 arrest.
Floyd was arrested in April 2002 for criminal trespassing and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
He did another stint for theft with a firearm in August 1998. He served 10 months at Harris County jail.
In one of the charging documents, officials noted Floyd had two convictions in the 1990s for theft and delivery of a controlled substance, but it is not clear if Floyd served any time for either of those offenses.
Despite his checkered past, it seems that Floyd had turned his life around before his death on Monday. A heartbreaking video emerged online of Floyd encouraging the younger generation to put an end to gun violence
Floyd was arrested in April 2002 for criminal trespassing and was sentenced to 30 days in jail
After his last arrest in 2007, Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2014 shortly after his prison release.
Christopher Harris, one of Floyd’s lifelong friends, said Floyd moved to the city to start over to find a job, telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution: ‘He was looking to start over fresh, a new beginning. He was happy with the change he was making.’
Indeed, it seems that Floyd had turned his life around before his death on Monday.
A heartbreaking video emerged online of Floyd encouraging the younger generation to put an end to gun violence.
The undated video was circulated on Twitter on Wednesday as protesters descended on the streets of Minneapolis for a second night calling for the arrest of the cops involved in his death.
Floyd is seen addressing the camera directly as he speaks out about the need for gun violence to end.
‘It’s clearly the generation after us that’s so lost, man,’ he says before telling them to ‘come home’.