US police officer charged with murder of George Floyd


A former US police officer has been charged with the murder of African-American man George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd for at least eight minutes on Monday before he passed away while in custody.

In the confronting vision, which went viral on social media, Floyd could be seen pleading that he “could not breathe” and “don’t kill me”.

The death has sparked violent protests and riots across Minneapolis, which saw a police precinct torched overnight and dozens of vehicles pelted with bricks.

Chauvin, who was sacked following the incident, has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter following worldwide outrage.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a press conference a short time ago that authorities have never moved so quickly on a case.

“I must say that this case has moved with extraordinary speed, this conduct, this criminal action, took place on Monday evening May 25th Memorial Day… I am speaking to you at 1pm on Friday May 29th, that’s less than four days… that’s extraordinary,” he said.

“We have never charged a case in that kind of time frame and we can only charge a case when we have sufficient admissible evidence to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt and right now we have that.”

Freeman said he also anticipates charges against the other three officers involved in the incident.

“The investigation is ongoing, we felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” he said.

“We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job to protect us. They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably.”

Authorities have now imposed mandatory overnight curfews in a number of cities a bid to try and calm protesters and stop looters.

“I know that whatever hope you feel today is tempered with scepticism and a righteous outrage,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.

“Today’s decision from the County Attorney is an essential first step on a longer road toward justice and healing our city.”