Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested four days after the release of a video in which Chauvin was seen kneeling on the neck of city resident George Floyd, who later died.
John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced on Friday that Chauvin had been taken into custody. A video of the incident taken by a bystander showed Floyd, who is African-American, pleading with officers to release him, saying he couldn’t breathe.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters that Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.
“This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer,” Freeman said.
Since the May 25 incident, Minneapolis has seen widespread rioting and looting. Rioters have burned down the city’s 3rd police precinct building, of which Chauvin was a member.
When asked if prosecutors had acted more quickly because of the protests, Freeman responded “I am not insensitive to what’s happened in the streets…[but] my job is to do it only when we have sufficient evidence.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday also announced a federal investigation into the incident.
“The Department of Justice, including the FBI, are conducting an independent investigation to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated,” Barr said in a statement. “I am confident justice will be served.”
The riots prompted Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey to call to deploy the National Guard in the city. On Friday President Trump wrote on Twitter, “The National Guard has arrived on the scene. They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!”
Floyd’s death has prompted outcries from bipartisan political figures. Former vice president Joe Biden on Friday said that he had spoken directly with Floyd’s family.
“The original sin of our country still stains our nation today,” Biden told reporters. “We are a country with an open wound.”
“Our prayers are with George Floyd’s family,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a visit to Atlanta, Ga. “Our prayers are also with the family of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. We have no tolerance for racism in America. We have no tolerance for violence inspired by racism. And as President Trump said, justice will be served.”