Cops involved in George Floyd's death refused to cooperate with investigation, pleading the 5th: Minnesota AG
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he expects "there will be charges" filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd, though he cautioned that they would wait for a "very strong case" before doing so. Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day after he was confronted by four police officers for allegedly trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill at a shop located in the 3700 Block of Chicago Avenue South. In a now-viral video that has been viewed millions of times, Floyd is seen getting dragged out of his car and made to lie on the ground, at which point an officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, kneels on his neck.
The 46-year-old can be heard pleading to Chauvin that he couldn't breathe before eventually passing out and becoming unresponsive. He was declared dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center a short time later. The incident was widely condemned, with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey stating it was "completely and utterly messed up" and that Chauvin "officer failed in the most basic human sense." He later called for prosecutors to arrest and charge all the officers involved in Floyd's death. "If most people, particularly people of color, had done what a police officer did late Monday, they'd already be behind bars," he tweeted. "That's why today I'm calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to charge the arresting officer in this case."
Following widespread protests across the country, which turned violent in Minneapolis and saw demonstrators burn down a police precinct, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday, May 29. Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd's family, said they were relieved Chauvin was arrested but that he should be charged with first-degree murder."The family does not trust the Minneapolis police department or anyone affiliated with the Minneapolis police department," he said. "We understand they did the same thing to Eric Garner and we're not going to allow that to happen this time."
However, Ellison told CNN that they need a "very strong case" before announcing further charges. "Everybody believes that this is a violation of Mr Floyd," he said. "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." He conceded that "unfortunately, it is taking more time than any of us want" and that he sympathizes with everybody who is "demanding charges." While Chauvin has been arrested, and the three other officers involved in the incident -- J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- have been fired, all have indicated that they will not be cooperating with the investigation. "Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says the officers involved in #GeorgeFloyd death are not cooperating with law enforcement," Fox9 reporter Courtney Godfrey tweeted. "They are pleading the 5th." The Fifth Amendment prohibits defendants from self-incrimination and double jeopardy and mandates due process of law for anyone facing criminal charges.