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Investigators: Now is not the time to press charges against Minnesota officers for Floyd's death

Investigators: Now is not the time to press charges against Minnesota officers for Floyd's death
Posted at 3:39 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 00:12:14-04

At a news conference on Thursday, federal and state investigators pleaded with the public to give them time to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody on Monday.

Floyd died after Derek Chauvin, a now fired Minneapolis police officer, held a knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes, despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired on Tuesday for their role in the incident.

Video of Monday’s incident quickly spread on social media, prompting unrest in Minneapolis. Video of the incident made its way to the White House, where President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was “very upset” about the incident.

Demonstrators nationwide have called on charges to be filed against Chauvin. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey joined protesters in calling for charges based on the video evidence.

While a number of civil rights leaders have called for peace, some did not heed the pleas. A number of Twin City businesses were vandalized and looted on Wednesday and Thursday, prompting the activation of the National Guard.

When asked why the video was not enough evidence to produce probable cause for a criminal charge against Chauvin, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman told reporters, “There is other evidence that doesn’t support a criminal charge.”

Freeman was joined by members of the FBI and US Attorney’s Office, who said speaking out on an investigation when no charges are pending is unusual for federal law enforcement officials. But the officials stressed the importance of informing the public that an active investigation is underway was important as unrest continued for the third straight night in Minnesota.

State and federal prosecutors called on the public to assist with the investigation, and requested anyone with information or video from Monday's incident to reach out to investigators.

"Our role in this investigation is to investigate allegations of willful violations of federal civil rights," FBI Special Agent Rainer S. Drolshagen said. "The FBI team is following the path where the facts will lead us. We are conducting a swift, yet meticulous, investigation. In less than 72 hours, much work has been done, but I assure you there's much more to be accomplished."