A former Minneapolis cop will be hit with an upgraded murder charge for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and three other ex-cops will be charged as accomplices in the racially charged slaying, according to a report Wednesday.
Derek Chauvin is expected to be charged with second-degree murder, while Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane will be charged with aiding and abetting murder, law-enforcement sources told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) tweeted confirmation of the report and called the anticipated legal action “another important step for justice.”
Under Minnesota law, second-degree murder covers deaths caused “with intent…but without premeditation” and is punishable by up to 40 years in prison.
It wasn’t immediately clear what potential penalties the three other ex-cops could face.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is expected to announce the charging decisions at a news conference later in the day.
The dramatic development comes four days after Gov. Tim Walz put Ellison in charge of the case, replacing Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
On Thursday, Freeman had said he wouldn’t “rush” to file charges in Floyd’s death, which came after Chauvin, who is white, was recorded kneeling for nearly nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, who was black.
At the time, Freeman called the cellphone video “graphic, and horrific, and terrible” but added that “there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”
But in the wake of violent protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere around the country on Thursday night, Freeman reversed course on Friday and charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter.