Following the needless death of George Floyd, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights have launched a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. Following pressure from protestors all over the world, the department is taking action.
George's death has been declared as a homicide following an official post-mortem. The results contradict the findings of the original post-mortem, which was ordered by the state. Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said: "Beyond doubt, he would have been alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the strain of his body by two other officers." He went on to say: "The ambulance was his hearse."
While Derek Chauvin - the officer captured on the video – who was initially charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter will appear in the court next week. Today, nine days after George’s death - Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar confirmed that the other three officers on the scene at the time have now been arrested.
While details of the charges are yet to be confirmed, Chauvin’s charge is expected to be elevated from third to second-degree murder. The raise means the maximum sentence he’ll serve has increased from 25 years to 40. According to some reports, the other three officers may face aiding and abetting second-degree murder charges, which also carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
When Medaria Arradondo, chief of the city's police was asked why he fired the four officers, he said: "There are absolute truths in life. We need air to breathe. The killing of Mr Floyd was an absolute truth that it was wrong, and so I did not need days or weeks or months or processes or bureaucracies to tell me that what occurred out here last month was wrong." He added: "This was a violation of humanity."
According to reports, the investigation will delve into MPD policies, procedures and practices over the past decade to "determine if the MPD has engaged in systemic discriminatory practices toward people of colour."
It what could be a real turning point, the investigation marks the first time Minnesota has launched a civil rights investigation against the state's biggest police department.
As the charge was served to the city on June 1, Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said she hoped for "quick changes" as the city works toward long-term changes. The charge comes after 40 Minnesota Democratic lawmakers have called for increase regulations on police in the wake of George's death. They will demand a total of 22 changes to legislation during a legislative special session later this month.
In one of the most significant changes proposed, the Democrats have suggested that the Minnesota country attorneys are stripped of their power to prosecute police killings, instead, handing control to the Minnesota Attorney General's office.
As the news broke, state Rep. Ruth Richardson, DLF-Mendota Heights, said: "I hope at this moment when I go home tonight, I can look into my own children's eyes and tell them this time is going to be different." She continued, "But I've had that conversation before, and still we're here."
Updates to follow.