As New York City faces its seventh straight day of protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the Minnesota Attorney General has announced new charges in the case.

Keith Ellison says the charges against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will be elevated from third-degree murder and manslaughter to second-degree murder.  He also said the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death will be charged with aiding and abetting a murder.

Word of the new charges came first in a tweet from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. They were quickly confirmed by the AG’s office.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Floyd family, released a statement thanking Ellison, calling the upgraded charges “a significant step on the road to justice.”

The statement read, in part, “this is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd.  We are gratified that this significant action was taken before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest.”

In the statement, the family also expressed gratitude to Ellison for continuing to work to upgrade the charge to first degree murder, and encouraged supporters not to give up the fight for justice.

“These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department’s widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people’s constitutional rights,” the statement continued.  “Therefore, we also demand permanent transparent police accountability at all levels and at all times.”

The question is, will the new charges be enough to quell demonstrations here in New York City and around the country?

With the 8 p.m. curfew still in effect, protesters were out early in parts of New York City.

A vigil was held in Bushwick, where protesters and elected officials, including Rep. Nydia Velazquez, honored Floyd.


Several dozen demonstrators rallied in Tompkinsville Park on Staten Island, the site where Eric Garner died after being placed in a banned chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014. Pantaleo was never charged, but he was fired.

The peaceful protesters carried signs reading, “Black Lives Matter.”



Police Commissioner Dermot Shea joined community members at The House of The Lord Church in Brooklyn on Wednesday as George Floyd's family prepares to hold a memorial in the city Thursday.

The commissioner expressed his condolences for the Floyd family and also called for justice, while at the same time saying he was “extremely proud” of the city's police department. He went on to say they make mistakes and that he hopes “this is a beginning of a dialogue that will bring peace.”

Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's brother, was expected to meet with Shea and the Rev. Kevin McCall at the church, but a representative said he was too overwhelmed to attend.

The Rev. Herbert Daughtry, the Pastor of The House of the Lord Church, showed paraphernalia from the 1978 killing of Arthur Miller, a Brooklyn businessman, comparing the events following his death to current protests.

“Seize the moment. This can be the moment that we make America what America ought to be,” Daughtry said.

This follows a far calmer night in New York City with around 280 arrests, down from 700 on Monday.  Though there were sporadic reports of looting and vandalism, non-violent protests ruled the day, with more than 10,000 marching the length of the city.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio imposed an 8 p.m. curfew last night, which appears to have worked.

“Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we’ve had the last few days,” he said, “and we’re moving to a better time.”

Governor Cuomo, who said on Tuesday that the mayor and the NYPD were “not doing their job,” today said he had a conversation with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

In his daily press conference, he decried the actions of looters, saying they are “trying to exploit this moment for their own selfish gain.”

He also praised the police response Tuesday night, calling the NYPD “the best.”

“New York City last night was much better,” he said.  “Protesters remained peaceful.  Police had the resources to do their jobs and the people in New York City should feel much better today than they did the night before.

He said his issue was with the “management and deployment, not the officers.”