Minneapolis ex-officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck is in state custody

By Dakin Andone, Sara Sidner and Faith Karimi, CNN

Minneapolis(CNN)The former Minneapolis police officer seen in a video with his knee on George Floyd’s neck before the unarmed black man died this week was taken into custody Friday by state authorities, according to John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as fires continued to burn from violent protests overnight as demonstrators demanded justice for Floyd.

“At this point we do not have any further information on charging decisions,” Harrington said at a news conference. “That will be coming from the county attorney, but we did want to let you know that he is in custody.”

[Previous story, published at 2:05 p.m. ET]

The former Minneapolis police officer seen in a video with his knee on George Floyd’s neck before the unarmed black man died this week was taken into custody Friday by state authorities, according to John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as fires continued to burn from violent protests overnight as demonstrators demanded justice for Floyd.

“At this point we do not have any further information on charging decisions,” Harrington said at a news conference. “That will be coming from the county attorney, but we did want to let you know that he is in custody.”

CNN has reached out to Chauvin’s attorney and the Minneapolis Police Union for comment.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz pleaded for order.

“What the world has witnessed since the killing of George Floyd on Monday has been a visceral pain, a community trying to understand who we are and where we go from here,” the governor said at a news conference.

Acknowledging protesters’ pain, Walz said disorder in the streets distracts officials and the community from addressing the issues at hand.

“As we put a presence on the street to restore order, it is to open that space, to seek justice and heal what happened,” he said. “I will not in any way not acknowledge that there is going to be that pain, but my first and foremost responsibility to the state of Minnesota is the safety and security of all citizens. We cannot have the looting and recklessness that went on.”

Floyd was arrested Monday after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, police have said. Outrage grew after a video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old, who was unarmed and handcuffed, cried out that he couldn’t breathe.

Walz’s comments came as fires continued to burn Friday across the Twin Cities, he said, spewing ash “symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish.”

Among the buildings set ablaze overnight was the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct, where protesters chanted Floyd’s name and “I can’t breathe.” Some tossed fireworks toward the precinct, which is the one closest to where the incident was captured on video.

State police, donning protective gear and carrying batons, lined up Friday morning near the site littered with debris and sprayed mace at protesters who got too close. Some responded by throwing projectiles at the officers as others fled.

“There are no words in the English language that will convey the despair that I felt watching that man’s life leave his body and him scream out for his mother,” Alicia Smith, a community organizer, said Thursday afternoon of watching the video this week. “I heard my son saying, ‘Mama, save me.'”

“My kids are little boys, and my son asked me, ‘Am I gonna live to be a grown-up?'” she told CNN. “I gotta ruin his innocence and tell him how to exist as a young black boy in this country.”

The four officers involved have been fired, but that has done nothing to quell calls that they face criminal charges.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told CNN Friday morning that he had “every expectation” that charges would be filed against the officers. Ellison noted that the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case, not his office.

“They want to make sure they have a conviction that sticks,” Ellison said, “and unfortunately, it is taking more time than any of us want.”

Meantime, a CNN crew has been released from police custody in Minneapolis after they were arrested Friday during a live broadcast at the site after clearly identifying themselves to officers. CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez was placed in handcuffs while the cameras rolled, shortly followed by producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez.

The state patrol said the crew was “released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.” CNN disputed that characterization, saying, “Our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists.”

“We’re doing OK, now,” Jimenez said, reporting again from downtown. “There were a few uneasy moments there.”

Outrage grows to other cities
The Minneapolis Police Department said it evacuated staff from the 3rd Precinct for safety reasons. Authorities had set up a fence around it, but protesters pushed it over, officials said.

City officials warned protesters Thursday night to leave the precinct area, saying it may be in danger of exploding due to “unconfirmed reports” of severed gas lines.

More than 500 Minnesota National Guard personnel mobilized to several locations in the Minneapolis area, including banks, grocery stories and pharmacies.

Another community organizer, Shanene Herbert, told CNN Thursday prior to the night’s events that young people had “every right to be angry.”

“They have experienced trauma,” she said. “Seeing your friends, your families and even yourself harassed by the police and killed by the police, it’s traumatic. And they don’t know what to do with that.”

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