Charges Upgraded Against Chauvin as 3 Other Officers Involved in George Floyd's Death Are Charged
Derek Chauvin's third-degree murder charge has been upgraded to include second-degree murder
Formal criminal charges have been filed in Minnesota against the three other policemen who were present at the time of George Floyd's May 25 death, according to a warrant reviewed by PEOPLE.
The charges against Thomas Lane, 37; Tou Thao, 34; and J. Alexander Kueng, 26, were confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The new charges are on aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter. They come five days after murder and manslaughter charges were announced against former officer Derek Chauvin.
On Wednesday, Chauvin's initial third-degree murder charge was also amended to include second-degree unintentional murder.
Authorities are in the process of taking the three officers into custody.
Floyd's family released a statement on social media after the new charges were announced, saying it was a "bittersweet moment" for them but they "are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest."
A press conference is expected later today.
The fired 44-year-old Minneapolis police officer was seen on eyewitness-shot video with his knee firmly planted on the back of Floyd's neck.
Chauvin adjusted his position as Floyd struggled to turn his head.
After his arrest, his estranged wife filed for divorce.
Despite being handcuffed and facedown on his stomach, Floyd, who was unarmed, was pinned to the pavement for nearly 9 minutes. All the while, Floyd can be heard on video groaning in pain. He repeatedly tells the officers he can't breathe, and at one point, he calls out to his mother for help.
Additional footage of the arrest shows Lane and Thao, kneeling on the small of Floyd's back and his legs, respectively.
Floyd, unconscious and foaming from the mouth, was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Footage of the incident sparked widespread outrage and has led to nationwide protests over police brutality against people of color. The protests have sometimes turned violent.
Floyd's brother, Terrence, has urged protesters to remain calm, encouraging people to hit the voting polls and not the streets of disenfranchised communities.
It was unclear Wednesday if any of the men had entered pleas to the charges against them.
Information on their defense attorneys was unavailable at press time.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
•Campaign Zero which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
•ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
•National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.