As It Happens

Activist calls for other officers to be charged in George Floyd's death

An activist in Minneapolis is calling on police to arrest the three officers who were present as their colleague Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd's neck until he stopped moving.

Derek Chauvin charged with 3rd-degree murder in death that's sparked violent protests in Minneapolis

Tony L. Clark holds a photo of George Floyd outside the Cup Food convenience store on Thursday in Minneapolis. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune/The Associated Press)


An activist in Minneapolis is calling on police to arrest the three officers who were present as their colleague Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd's neck until he stopped moving.

Chauvin, who is white, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd, who is black.

The Minneapolis Police Department officer, who has since been fired, was recorded pinning Floyd to the ground with a knee to the neck. The bystander cellphone footage shows Loyd gasping, "Please, I can't breathe," before going limp. He was later declared dead in hospital. 

Three other responding officers were fired along with Chauvin, after Floyd's death. They are not currently in custody.

Third-degree murder carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and is defined in the state's criminal statute as applicable to "whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life."

The charges come after three nights of protests and violent clashes between police and demonstrators. 

Tray Pollard is an activist who knew Floyd personally. Pollard says he has been out on the streets of Minneapolis working to prevent looting and damage, and to help local residents. Here is part of his conversation with As It Happens host Carol Off. 

Tray, first of all, can I get your reaction to ... Derrick Chauvin's arrest?

First of all, it should have been first-degree murder, not third-degree. And then you added a manslaughter charge.

The three officers that allowed that to happen, they are just as dangerous as the person that did it because they didn't do anything about it, and they could have.

Protesters call for justice for George Floyd following his death. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

[Hennepin] County Attorney [Mike] Freeman, he said that he thought that pressing charges against the officers too quickly could ultimately result in acquittals. We've seen things like that before. Wouldn't that spark even a more powerful reaction if the cases don't stick against these men?

This was on camera for the world to see. It's no if, ands, whats or buts about it. What's on video don't lie.

They want to know why the black community is so enraged. Well, this is a part of why they are enraged. It's things like the law only applies to us in one form, but it applies to law enforcement or even Caucasians in a different [form].

Floyd was probably one of the kindest persons you ever meet in your life. And he promoted love and peace. That's what he promoted.- Tray Pollard, activist 

What effect do you think this arrest will have on the protests that are rocking your city?

Honestly, my prayer is that it tones it down a little bit.

But my reality is, again, a lot of African-Americans in the community in which I work  ... is that it just kind of enraged them a little bit more, to be honest with you.

I'm out here on the front lines. I have been since this started. And what I'm trying to keep people mindful of is that I knew Floyd. And, you know, Floyd was probably one of the kindest persons you will ever meet in your life. And he promoted love and peace. That's what he promoted.

If we're out here standing for what he stood for, then that's exactly what the protest should be about. Not burning down buildings. Not burning down businesses. None of that stuff. That's not what he stood for. And that's not what should be occurring.

Minneapolis police driven from 3rd Precinct as protesters set station on fire


6 months agoVideo
The city endured a third night of protests and violence after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody. 0:49

If you knew George Floyd, then you'd probably know how he would regard this reaction to his death. What would he say to what happened in the past three nights in the city of Minneapolis?

He would be sickened. 

He would be proud of the fact that people were standing for him, and that's just showing love and respect for him.

But, you know, burning down businesses in a lower-income part of the city ... where people now can't go to the grocery store, now can't go to Target to get their medication, like, that would honestly sicken him, like literally.

The tweet that Donald Trump issued about the protesters calling them "THUGS" in capital letters and he said, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," what effect has that had on the reaction to the death of George Floyd?

I was raised by southern grandparents and my grandfather said to me one time, I came home and I was really upset about something that didn't really pertain to anything, and he said, "You know what? You are as ignorant as the person that's inciting the ignorance if you indulge in it."

And the reality of it is, is that a lot of these structures that's been been cocktail-bombed and burned down, etc., you look at the footage and you look at the videos, those are a lot of Caucasian males.

So what I say is, well, maybe you're calling the white boys thugs. I mean, honestly, that's what I would like to say. But the reality of it is we know what he meant. And that's just something that I'm not willing to engage in with him or anybody else.

I have a job to do. That is now to try to provide whatever I can and whatever assistance I can to the city of Minneapolis.

I got a phone call at five o'clock this morning. A 72-year-old woman ... on the street from the 3rd Precinct said, "Tray, I don't know how I'm going to get my medication. I only got one more day's worth. I don't have any toilet paper. I don't have any bread."

So, you know what? That's what I'm going keep my focus on. And I'm not going to get into that media ignorance with him or anybody else.

The National Guard was called in as protests rocked the city of Minneapolis. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

You're a founder and CEO of We Push for Peace. So given how unpeaceful things are right now, how are you personally dealing with this today?

I have a truck full of canned goods, etc., that I boxed up throughout this morning. And I'm going to be passing out these canned goods, paper towels, toilet paper, bottled waters.

Got a lot of other community people that's just coming to volunteer and help. And so, again, that's exactly what my focus is going to be and I'm try to do as much as I can within this window, because from what I understood today, the governor is putting a curfew on the state of Minnesota at 8 o'clock. 

So I have literally about 3 ½ hours maybe to try to give assistance to the people that need it the most in the area that was that was most hit, which is by the 3rd Precinct police department.

Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from Reuters and CBC News. Interview produced by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes. Edited for length and clarity.

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