One week after an unarmed Minneapolis man died during a police encounter, community members and activists continue calling for charges against three officers who were connected to the incident.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is the only person so far to faces charges in connection with the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose arrest made international headlines following his death.
A bystander to the arrest captured cellphone video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck during the arrest. Multiple times, Floyd could be heard telling Chauvin and other officers on scene that he was in pain and couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s lifeless body was placed on a stretcher and taken away from the scene in an ambulance, the video shows. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Chauvin was arrested last Friday and booked into jail on charges of manslaughter and third-degree murder. But three other officers at the scene — Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao — have not been criminally charged in connection with Floyd’s death.
Sacramento criminal defense attorney Mark Reichel told FOX40 News on Tuesday he believes charges against the other three officers are forthcoming, and it’s simply a matter of time before prosecutors in Minnesota announce them.
“Once you’re aware a crime is being committed, if your presence is enough to prevent it from being stopped, you can be charged as an accomplice,” Mark said.
The three officers could be charged with accomplice liability — also known as aiding and abetting — for having reasonable knowledge that Chauvin was committing a crime but failing to stop it. Eyewitness video captured at the scene showed at least one officer repeatedly telling bystanders to stay out of the street while he was standing mere feet away from Chauvin and Floyd.
The video evidence is likely going to be key in charging the other three officers with accomplice liability in the future.
“It’s going to come down to, what did you see? What did you hear? What did you know?” Mark said. “It’s my understanding they’re looking at the facts right now. Some of those facts are, when were they aware there was no pulse? When were they aware those other officers are saying, roll him over…to the right side?”
In a separate but related legal action, state officials in Minnesota filed a civil rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department. That complaint opens the door for state investigators to comb through nearly a decade of police cases connected to the department to see if there are additional civil rights violations.