According to Minnesota state law, second-degree murder is not premeditated or planned in advance. Chauvin faces a maximum penalty of 40 years behind bars for the charge.
Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Keung, who helped restrain Floyd, and a fourth officer, Tou Thao, who stood near the others, will also be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
The announcement comes more than a week after Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, sparking global protests demanding an end to police brutality against black citizens.
Two autopsies, one by the county medical examiner and the other commissioned by Floyd’s family, determined that he died by homicide. The four officers were fired, while Floyd’s family and protesters have called for the officers to be arrested and convicted for the killing.
“George died because he needed a breath,” said Ben Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s family. “He needed a breath of air.”
The music industry is reacting to the charges. Prior to the announcement, Drake prayed for justice. “The decision on the other officers will be announced this afternoon and it BETTER reflect the cries and outrage of the people,” he wrote on Instagram.
“this is an opportunity for those in power who are used to protecting each other to show the nation they are being heard…pivotal moment in history is upon us and I am praying for harsh JUSTICE …can’t say I’m not nervous though.”
Ice Cube commended Ellison for “doing the right thing” and urged him to “follow through,” while Meek Mill wrote, “Step 1!!!”
Trey Songz applauded protesters for using their voice to demand justice. “Never let them tell you how to use your voice,” he tweeted. “Your voice brings about change. This is why we march. Don’t let them convince you that You didn’t make this happen!”
Good job Mr. @keithellison for doing the right thing. All day everyday sir, let’s follow through.