Michael Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney investigating the involvement of Minneapolis police officers in the death of George Floyd, said Thursday that some evidence in the case does not support criminal charges against the cops.
“That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that,” Freeman said in a press conference. “But my job, in the end, is to prove that he violated a criminal statute, and there’s other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”
Hennepin Co. Attorney Freeman:
“That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that. But my job in the end is to prove that he violated a criminal statute, and there's other evidence that does not support a criminal charge… I will not rush to justice.” pic.twitter.com/RZ9iYsvQ1W
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 28, 2020
“I will not rush to justice,” he added.
Shortly after Freeman’s comments, the Minnesota prosecutor’s office issued “clarification” regarding his press conference, stating that it is “critical to review all the evidence.”
In a separate statement, Erica MacDonald, the U.S. Attorney of the District of Minnesota, said her agency is probing whether the police officers committed any federal violations.
“Police officers, by the nature of their job, have the authority to use a certain amount of force when they are executing their duties faithfully and honestly and in accordance with their policies. So a police officer, a law enforcement officer, has the ability to use the right amount of force, but not excessive force, not excessive force as defined by the law. That is what we are looking at with respect to any federal, criminal violation, is that use of excessive force,” MacDonald said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday signed an executive order activating the National Guard in response to protests over the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Walz said he issued the order at the request of local leaders who called on the state government for National Guard resources after “extensive damage to private property” occurred during the protests.
“As governor, I will always defend the right to protest,” Walz said. “It is how we express pain, process tragedy and create change. That is why I am answering our local leaders’ request for Minnesota National Guard assistance to protect peaceful demonstrators, neighbors and small businesses in Minnesota.”
In addition to the National Guard, approximately 200 Minnesota State Patrol troopers will be deployed along with state patrol helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to assist law enforcement officers on the ground.
Floyd died Monday after he was restrained by a Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a grocery store.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it has made investigating his death a “top priority,” as protests have erupted nationwide to demand justice.
The UPI contributed to this report.