(AP) — The police officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, was arrested Friday and charged with murder in a case that sparked protests across the United States and violence in Minneapolis.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Freeman did not provide immediate details, but said a criminal complaint would be made available later Friday and that more charges were possible.
In the video, Chauvin is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd is on the ground. He gradually becomes motionless as Chauvin and three other officers ignore bystanders’ shouts to get off him. Freeman said the investigation continues into the other three officers, but that authorities “felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”
Freeman highlighted the “extraordinary speed” in charging the case just four days after Floyd’s death, but also defended himself against questions about why it did not happen sooner. He said his office needed time to put together evidence, including what he called the “horrible” video by a bystander. He said he would not bring a case unless he had enough evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Protests in Minneapolis escalated in violence on Thursday, when demonstrators torched a police station that officers had abandoned.
“I’m not insensitive to what happened in the streets,” Freeman said. “My own home has been picketed regularly.”
News of the arrest came moments after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to the protests and called for swift justice for officers involved. Walz said the state would take over the response to the violence and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
“Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said, adding. “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world — and the world is watching.”
The governor cited a call he received from a state senator who described her district “on fire, no police, no firefighters, no social control, constituents locked in houses wondering what they were going to do. That is an abject failure that cannot happen.”
His comments came the morning after protesters torched a police station that officers abandoned during a third night of violence. Livestream video showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires activated smoke alarms and sprinklers. President Donald Trump threatened action, tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which prompted a warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence.”
The governor faced tough questions after National Guard leader Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen blamed a lack of clarity about the Guard’s mission for a slow response. Walz said the state was in a supporting role and that it was up to city leaders to run the situation. Walz said it became apparent as the 3rd Precinct was lost that the state had to step in, which happened at 12:05 a.m. Requests from the cities for resources “never came,” he said.
“You will not see that tonight, there will be no lack of leadership,” Walz said.
On Friday morning, nearly every building in the shopping district around the abandoned police station had been vandalized, burned or looted. National Guard members were in the area, with several of them lined up, keeping people away from the police station.
Dozens of volunteers swept up broken glass in the street, doing what they could to help.
Dean Hanson, 64, lives in a subsidized housing unit nearby, which is home to many older residents. He said his building lost electricity overnight, and residents were terrified as they watched mobs of people run around their neighborhood, with no apparent intervention.
“I can’t believe this is happening here,” he said.
Dozens of fires were also set in nearby St. Paul, where nearly 200 businesses were damaged or looted. Protests spread across the U.S., fueled by outrage over Floyd’s death, and years of violence against African Americans at the hands of police. Demonstrators clashed with officers in New York and blocked traffic in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver.
Trump threatened to bring Minneapolis “under control,” calling the protesters “thugs” and tweeting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The tweet drew another warning from Twitter, which said the comment violated the platform’s rules, but the company did not remove it.
Trump also blasted the “total lack of leadership” in Minneapolis.
A visibly tired and frustrated Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made his first public appearance of the night early Friday at City Hall and took responsibility for evacuating the precinct, saying it had become too dangerous for officers. As Frey continued, a reporter cut across loudly with a question: “What’s the plan here?”
“With regard to?” Frey responded. Then he added: “There is a lot of pain and anger right now in our city. I understand that … What we have seen over the past several hours and past couple of nights here in terms of looting is unacceptable.”
He defended the city’s lack of engagement with looters — only a handful of arrests across the first two nights of violence — and said, “We are doing absolutely everything that we can to keep the peace.” He said National Guard members were stationed in locations to help stem looting, including at banks, grocery stores and pharmacies.
The Minnesota State Patrol arrested a CNN television crew early Friday as the journalists reported on the unrest. While live on air, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was handcuffed and led away. A producer and a photojournalist for CNN were also taken away in handcuffs.
The Minnesota State Patrol said the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order,” and they were released after being confirmed to be media members. CNN said on Twitter that the arrests were “a clear violation of their First Amendment rights.” Walz publicly apologized on Friday.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing members of Floyd’s family, called for an independent investigation, and said he asked to take custody of Floyd’s body to have an independent autopsy performed. Floyd said that talk of a heart condition or asthma is irrelevant because Floyd was walking and breathing before his contact with police.
The doctor who will do the autopsy is Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was hired to do an autopsy for Eric Garner as well.
In New York City, protesters defied New York’s coronavirus prohibition on public gatherings Thursday, clashing with police, while demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Denver and downtown Columbus. A day earlier, demonstrators had taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Memphis.
About 10 protesters went to a Florida home believed to belong to Chauvin. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Friday that Chauvin was not at the residence and has no plans to be in the area.
In Louisville, Kentucky, police confirmed that at least seven people had been shot Thursday night as protesters demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home in March.
In Mississippi, the mayor of the community of Petal resisted calls to resign following his remarks about Floyd’s death. Hal Marx, a Republican, asked on Twitter: “Why in the world would anyone choose to become a police officer in our society today?” In a follow-up tweet, he said he “didn’t see anything unreasonable.”
The city on Thursday released a transcript of the 911 call that brought police to the grocery store where Floyd was arrested. The caller described someone paying with a counterfeit bill, with workers rushing outside to find the man sitting on a van. The caller described the man as “awfully drunk” and said he was “not in control of himself.”
Asked by the 911 operator whether the man was “under the influence of something,” the caller said: “Something like that, yes. He is not acting right.” Police said Floyd matched the caller’s description of the suspect.
State and federal authorities are investigating Floyd’s death.
Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was fired Tuesday, along with three other officers involved in the arrest.
The owner of a popular Latin nightclub said that Floyd and Chauvin both worked as security guards at the club as recently as the end of last year, but it’s not clear whether they worked together. Chauvin worked at the El Nuevo Rodeo club as an off-duty security guard for nearly two decades, but Floyd had only worked there more recently for about a dozen events that featured African-American music, Maya Santamaria told The Associated Press.
Santamaria said if Chauvin had recognized Floyd, “he might have given him a little more mercy.”
Santamaria, who sold the venue within the past two months, said Chauvin got along well with the regular Latino customers, but did not like to work the African American nights. When he did, and there was a fight, he would spray people with mace and call for police backup and half-dozen squad cars would soon show up, something she felt was unjustified “overkill.”
R Kelly, Sean ‘P-Diddy’ Combs & the power of money, AGUIKE writes
R. Kelly, a highly talented musician, is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of sexual misconduct with multiple women. Most notably, some of these women were his girlfriends, including the mother of his children. Just last night, it was reported that Jamie Foxx, the musician, comedian, and Oscar winner, is facing accusations of sexual misconduct from an individual identified as Jane Doe.
Recently, Sean Combs (also known as P Diddy or Puff Daddy) was accused by his ex-girlfriend and R&B singer Cassie of rape and coercing her into engaging in sexual activities with prostitutes while also using drugs. However, before the situation could escalate further legally, a monetary settlement was reached, and Cassandra withdrew her lawsuit.
Despite reaching a financial settlement before going through the court system, P Diddy’s reputation had already been damaged. His public image has suffered dramatically.
Reflecting on R Kelly’s case and considering how many women have come forward accusing him of rape—including his former partner—it is likely that if he had substantial funds at his disposal, he would have sought an out-of-court settlement. While I do not support or dismiss any wrongful actions against women in any way whatsoever—I have observed numerous accusations made against various celebrities driven by financial motivations.
In the music industry, men often behave immaturely, while women may participate in more frivolous activities. It would be hard for any entertainer to claim they have never done something they are not proud of at some point in their career. Many musicians lead chaotic lives filled with womanizing tendencies alongside drug and alcohol abuse—all without much concern for their future consequences. They often father children across different cities during their tours.
I recall one instance where a famous Nigerian musician served as President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria. One day, one of his children approached him, and he claimed not to know who the child was. Truthfully, he didn’t recognize his offspring. This musician was so famous and adored that every woman in South Western Nigeria would do anything to bear his child.
We can also recall former President Donald Trump once stating that when someone is a celebrity, they allow you to do whatever you want with them—and he wasn’t wrong. However, it should be noted that some of these individuals who consented initially may eventually pursue financial compensation from the celebrities involved. This phenomenon affects both male and female stars.
As the saying goes, “Money answers everything.” Many individuals who have accused various celebrities of wrongdoing often receive significant monetary settlements.
While the world and music industry rightfully condemn R Kelly for his irresponsible actions toward his accusers, we should also consider that if he had sufficient financial resources, he might have found a way out of the mess he created. There are countless other celebrities out there who may have committed worse deeds than R Kelly but continue to thrive due to their wealth.
As attention turns towards Jamie Foxx and the individual suing him for financial damages, I hope we allow the court system to decide this case fairly. The mainstream media tends to fixate on black celebrities—rarely waiting for legal resolutions before passing judgment on them; this severely damages their public image long before any jury reaches a verdict in their trials.
My prayer is that one day, R Kelly will be granted parole as nobody is above sin; none of us are saints.
OBAMA, fully vaccinated and boosted TESTS POSITIVE TO Covid-19
I just tested positive for COVID. I’ve had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise. Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted, and she has tested negative.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 13, 2022
It’s a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, even as cases go down.
The former President of the United States, Barack Obama said on Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is “feeling fine” other than a scratchy throat.
Both the 60-year-old Obama and his wife Michelle Obama are fully vaccinated and boosted, the former president said. Michelle Obama has tested negative.
Obama said his diagnosis is “a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, even as cases go down.”
Cheslie Kryst, Former Miss USA Jumps Off Manhattan Skyscraper
Miss USA 2019 pageant winner, Cheslie Kryst has passed away at the age of 30, after jumping off from the roof of her New York City condominium. Kryst’s body was discovered on the sidewalk outside the Orion Condominium building at 7:05 a.m. on Sunday. At the scene, she was pronounced dead. “In devastation and tremendous grief, we share the demise of our dear Cheslie,” a statement said, confirming the 30-year-old beauty queen’s death.
The 2019 pageant winner and 30-year-old lawyer jumped from her luxury 60-story Orion building at 350 W. 42nd St. around 7:15 a.m. and was found dead in the street below, sources said.
“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie,” the former beauty queen’s family said in a statement Sunday.
“Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.
“Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on EXTRA,” her family said. “But most importantly as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague — we know her impact will live on.”
A strange Inauguration eve: why this night’s so different-AGU writes.
Earlier in the day, I saw the incoming President, Joe Biden, wept openly. I equally saw a woman, a staunch member of Qanon, who said President Biden would be arrested and won’t be sworn in as the President.
Washington DC is like a City under a military siege, right at this hour. I was an eye witness on the eve of then-President-elect Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. I got selected to headline the African Inaugural Ball; the day was the 19th of January 2009. I performed to honor the incoming President around 1.a.m Eastern time.
After my performance, the entire crew rode freely amid thousands of folks to Capital Hill, where the swearing-in ceremony would occur. We also visited Baily’s house, where the Obamas stayed on the eve of his swearing-in ceremony. Our next port of call was the White house. I can never forget when a White Secret Service agent told me bluntly not to pass through his ‘yard.’ That night, around 3.a.m, President Bush and his family had their last night in the White House.
Thousands of people camped out at the national mall and folks who kept coming from different directions.
It was around 4.a.m that I drove back to New York City, leaving my crew behind in Washington D.C. I don’t have a word to describe what I saw as I saw thousands of people smiling, singing, and dancing in the streets. People partied across the United States all night long. Candidate Obama had mesmerized and dazzled a distressed nation with messages of hope. You can see that millions of people hoped that Obama would succeed after the economy took a turn for the worse.
Millions of people had lost their jobs. Companies went out of business.
A vast majority of Americans saw the President-Elect, Barrack Obama, who campaigned with a catchy phrase that says ‘Hope you can believe in,’ put their hopes on him. The man went to work as soon as he got sworn in; there was no drama, no scandal. Obama and Biden worked for the American people, who gave them a mandate. Obama, just like every other mortal out there, is not a perfect man; some of his policies, as controversial as they were, he dug the nation out of a hole. His detractors agreed.
Tonight as the United States people mourn the deaths of over four hundred thousand lives lost due to the coronavirus, Washington D.C is a no-go area. With over twenty thousand members of the national guard in military Kakis, their hands on the long guns, this night is the complete opposite of 2009 or even 2017 when the current President took over. The national guards are dealing with the harsh cold weather too. I don’t know how they do it, but this is hard. Imagine staying outside under this cold condition? Horrible. You can see hundreds of them sleeping on the bare floor. How do they even eat or shower under this condition? I salute these men and women who put their lives in harm’s way for us.
I remain grateful that I witnessed history in 2009, by every standard, Kamala Harris’s rise from slum to become the Vice president lect is historic. She was born and raised like an ordinary child out there. She rose from nothing to become somebody. Kamala also went to a regular school like every other poor kid in our neighborhood. The man who selected her ( President- Elect Joe Biden) is also an ordinary American whose parents lived from paycheck to paycheck. Many of us quarreled, fought, and became enemies and passionately supported our candidates. In the next 12 hours or less, a new President will be sworn in. Let’s bury the hatchets and be friends again. In politics, they say, there’s no permanent friendship but permanent interest.
It is an unusual night, surreal, frightful, and unprecedented in so many ways. Historians will never refer to this transition as a peaceful transfer of power. It reminds me of a military take over in Banana Republics. This night in Washington, D.C, looks nothing like an inauguration eve; it is a sad night. Earlier in the day, I saw the incoming President, Joe Biden, wept openly. I equally saw a woman, a staunch member of Qanon, who said President Biden would be arrested and won’t be sworn in as the President. Guys, these are challenging times; please pray for the United States, the land of the impossibilities.
AGU’s a New York-based Musicologist, Singer, songwriter, producer, web developer, and businessman.
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