George Floyd protests: All four former police officers face new charges as demonstrations continue nationwide

Joe Sommerlad, Chris Riotta, Alex Woodward
A protester waves a DC flag with Black Lives Matter spray painted on it next to a DC National Guard Humvee as protestors march through the streets during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd on 2 June 2020 in Washington, DC: Samuel Corum/Getty

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced new charges against all four former officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

The attorney general announced charges against Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, the three officers seen alongside Derek Chauvin, an officer who kneeled on Mr Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes before his death, according to charging documents.

Officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, while Mr Chauvin was also charged with second-degree murder, following charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

He could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison, if convicted on that count.

Active-duty troops were meanwhile sent home from the nation's capitol on Wednesday after Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the Insurrection Act should be used "only in the most urgent and dire of situations".

"We are not in one of those situations now," he said.

Donald Trump and his allies who support using troops to quell the protests reportedly were taken aback by the comments and felt the defence secretary's statement was out of line.

His former Defence Secretary James Mattis, writing in The Atlantic, said he was "angry and appalled" by the president's use of force.

Demonstrations continued for a ninth night across the US, from thousands of protesters in Washington DC chanting "I can't breathe" to silent vigils and memorials honouring Mr Floyd and other black Americans killed by police.

The protests persist despite officials attempts' to keep people off the street with curfews.

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