Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department this week after being filmed kneeling on George Floyd's neck, was arrested Friday afternoon. (Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

After Days of Protest, Police Officer Derek Chauvin Charged With 3rd Degree Murder for Killing George Floyd

"Don't think for a minute that Derek Chauvin would have been arrested if people in Minneapolis weren't standing up and fighting."

Julia Conley

This post has been updated from the original.

Following three days of intense demonstrations in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd,  police officer Derek Chauvin—one of four officers involved in the killing—was taken into custody by state authorities Friday afternoon and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Chauvin was filmed kneeling on George Floyd, a black man, while he was unarmed and handcuffed in Minneapolis on Monday. The video of Floyd's arrest—over his alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill—showed him saying he couldn't breathe while witnesses demanded that the officers stop the attack. 

Chauvin and the three other officers at the scene—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng—were fired after the killing, but human rights advocates across the country and protesters in Minneapolis and other cities this week demanded the officers be charged with murder.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters that the investigation is ongoing and that the other officers may be charged, but said his office had charged Chauvin with "extraordinary speed."

"We have never charged a case in that kind of timeframe," Freeman said.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro tweeted that a record of slow-moving criminal investigations is nothing for the county to boast about.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd's family, called Chauvin's arrest "a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice."

"We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge," said Crump in a statement. "And we want to see the other officers arrested. We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer. The pain that the black community feels over this murder and what it reflects about the treatment of black people in America is raw and is spilling out onto streets across America."

Organizers in Minneapolis said after the arrest that they were "not satisfied with one officer" being detained, and protests continued Friday. 

"Don't think for a minute that Derek Chauvin would have been arrested if people in Minneapolis weren't standing up and fighting," tweeted Jonathan Smucker of the advocacy group PA Stand Up.

The ACLU tweeted that an independent investigation into Floyd's killing must follow the arrest.

"We have much further to go," the group said. "The fight to dismantle a violent, oppressive system has just begun."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo