2. Minneapolis police chief says other three officers are complicit
In a spontaneous moment carried live on CNN, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo doffed his cap in a sign of respect and told the family of George Floyd, through a reporter, that he believes the other three officers are as guilty as the one who has been charged: "Silence and inaction, you're complicit."
- It was the first time the chief had spoken to the family.
Why it matters: Besides the assurance for people around the world demanding justice in the case, the chief's concession — unheard of, at a stage when top officials are usually vague or silent — could have immense legal significance if he's a witness at future trials.
Here's how it happened: CNN anchor Don Lemon was interviewing Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, remotely from Houston as part of a prime-time special on "black men living and dying in America" called "I Can't Breathe."
- CNN's Sara Sidner, an experienced protest and combat correspondent who has been providing fascinating coverage all week from Minneapolis, was near the spot where George Floyd died.
- As she later recounted the moment, someone said as she talked to community members: "That's the police chief." Arradondo had come to pay respects to George Floyd, and wound up kneeling and praying.
- Sidner buttonholed the chief for a live interview. Then Lemon prodded Philonise Floyd to ask a question, relayed through Sidner's earpiece.
Sidner: "The Floyd family has asked if you are going to get justice for George Floyd by making sure that the other officers are arrested and ... eventually convicted."
The chief: "And this is the Floyd family right now?"
Sidner: "This is the Floyd family."
The chief, removing his cap: "To the Floyd family, being silent or not intervening, to me, you’re complicit. So I don't see a level of distinction."
- "So, obviously, the charging and those decisions will have to come through our county attorney's office. Certainly, the FBI is investigating."
- "But to the Floyd family, I want you to know that my decision to fire all four officers was not based on some sort of hierarchy."
"Mr. Floyd died in our hands," the chief continued.
- "Silence and inaction, you're complicit. You’re complicit. If there were one solitary voice that would have intervened, that's what I would have hoped for. ... And that did not occur."