The white policeman who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a black man in handcuffs who died in custody after claiming he could not breathe, was arrested on Friday and charged with murder in a case that sparked protests in the United States. and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Derek Chauvin, the officer seen in the video of a viewer kneeling on Floyd's neck on the Monday before the 46-year-old man's death, was charged with murder and wrongful death, Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman told a news conference.
"He is in custody and has been charged with murder," Freeman said of Chauvin. "We have evidence, we have the video from the citizen's camera, the horrible, horrible and terrible thing that we have seen several times, we have the policeman's camera, we have statements from some witnesses".
The cell phone footage showed Floyd groaning and panting repeatedly as he pleaded for Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, "Please, I can't breathe." After a few minutes, Floyd gradually becomes quiet and stops moving.
The arrest and charges came after three days of protests, which increased in violence when protesters hit a police district that had been abandoned by police.
Residents welcomed the charges, but said the other three officers involved should also be arrested and charged.
Freeman said these officers were still under investigation.
With smoke floating over Minneapolis, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz acknowledged on Friday the "abject failure" of the response to this week's violent protests and called for quick justice for the police involved in Floyd's death.
Walz said the state will take over and that it is time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering. The US National Guard arrived in Minneapolis at noon on Thursday.
"Minneapolis and Saint Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoking on our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of unknown anguish," said Walz, adding, "Now generations of pain are manifesting before you. the world – and the world is watching ".
His comments came the next morning, after protesters set fire to a police station that police abandoned during a third night of violence.
The video from the live broadcast showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires triggered smoke alarms and sprinklers. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to act, tweeting "when the loot begins, the shooting begins", which led to a Twitter warning for "glorifying violence".
The governor faced tough questions after National Guard leader General Jon Jensen blamed the lack of clarity on the guard's mission for a slow response. Walz said the state has a supporting role and that it is up to city leaders to manage the situation.
"You won't see that tonight there will be no lack of leadership," said Walz.
Dozens of fires have also occurred in nearby Saint Paul, where nearly 200 companies have been damaged or looted. The protests spread across the United States, fueled by outrage over Floyd's death and years of violence against African Americans at the hands of the police.
Watch: Who was George Floyd?