May 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Former Minneapolis police officer in custody

A man rides a bicycle up to a law enforcement checkpoint today in Minneapolis.

A man rides a bicycle up to a law enforcement checkpoint today in Minneapolis. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The people of Minneapolis who took to the streets to protest got results Friday afternoon, but the nation will still enter the weekend on edge.

Why it matters: It's hard to imagine fired police officer Derek Chauvin being arrested so quickly on third-degree murder charges without this week's protests.

  • "[W]e felt it was important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday."
  • "We have never charged a case in that time frame," said Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington.
  • Minnesota AG Keith Ellison earlier Friday: "They are trying to be careful. They are trying to make sure their case is strong and airtight."

Chauvin was the officer videotaped pinning George Floyd to the ground with a knee to his neck.

  • The complaint against Chauvin says that Floyd's autopsy did not "support a diagnosis of traumatic strangulation or asphyxiation," but noted that his underlying health conditions, the police restraint and any potential intoxicants in his system all "likely contributed to his death."
  • Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in total — two minutes and 53 seconds of that time was after Floyd was not responsive.
  • Full complaint.

The big picture: Minnesota politicians are begging residents to bring the violent protests to an end.

  • Dozens of buildings have been burned, looted or vandalized, and one man was killed earlier this week in the protests, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
  • The police have used flash bangs, tear gas and pepper spray.
  • The area is only four years removed from the death of Philando Castile, a black man who was killed by a police officer. (That officer was found not guilty of manslaughter.)

National TV viewers watched police arrest a reporter live on air this morning. Gov. Tim Walz subsequently apologized, and CNN's Omar Jimenez is once again reporting from the scene.

  • In Washington, President Trump just wrapped a press conference on China without taking questions.
  • Joe Biden has spoken with Floyd's family. “We are a country with an open wound. None of us can turn away,” Biden said in a speech Friday.
  • President Obama weighed in too: "This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’"

The bottom line: "My top priority now is the immediate security to make sure what happened the last 48 hours doesn’t happen tonight. The state of Minnesota has assumed that responsibility," Gov. Walz said Friday.

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