BREAKING NEWS: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd after he knelt on his neck for eight minutes in video which has sparked violent protests nationwide
Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on George Floyd neck during his arrest, has been taken into custody
Commissioner John Harrington announced Chauvin was arrested by state prosecutors on Friday afternoon
It comes after Minneapolis was left in ruins following third night of riots and protests over Floyd's death
Chaotic scenes and protests also unfolded across several states including New York, Colorado and Ohio
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder after he knelt on the neck of black man George Floyd in a video of his arrest that sparked violent protests across the country.
The 44-year-old white cop was arrested by state investigators on Friday afternoon and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced.
His arrest comes a day after prosecutors had warned there was 'evidence that did not support criminal charges' in the case, saying they needed to prove Chauvin had used 'excessive' force on Floyd.
Freeman said the charges were laid after the state were able to 'gather the evidence that we need.' He did not have immediate details but said a criminal complaint would be made publicly available later.
He also highlighted the 'extraordinary speed' in charging the case just four days after Floyd's death, but also defended himself against questions about why it did not happen sooner.
As for the other three officers who were fired alongside Chauvin over Floyd's death - J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - Freeman said the investigation is ongoing and prosecutors chose to focus on the 'most dangerous perpetrator'.
The charges come after three days of riots and protests that erupted across Minneapolis - and several states - demanding justice for 46-year-old Floyd.
n widely circulated footage, Floyd was seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back as Chauvin pinned him to the pavement until he lost consciousness and later died.
As news of Chauvin's arrest broke around the country, protesters in Minneapolis were seen chanting: 'One down, three to go' and 'all four got to go', while in Florida, crowds rallied outside a town home belonging to the former cop.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, who was among the first to call for criminal charges to be laid against Chauvin in the wake of Floyd's death, said the move is 'a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice' and demanded he be tried for murder in the first degree.
'We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested,' Crump said in a statement.
'We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer. The pain that the black community feels over this murder and what it reflects about the treatment of black people in America is raw and is spilling out onto streets across America.
'While this is a right and necessary step, we need the City of Minneapolis – and cities across the country – to fix the policies and training deficiencies that permitted this unlawful killing – and so many others – to occur.'
US Attorney General William Barr meanwhile said he is 'confident justice will be served', calling the videos of Floyd's death 'harrowing to watch and deeply disturbing.'
The Justice Department and FBI are conducting an investigation to determine whether federal civil rights laws were broken.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Friday acknowledged the 'abject failure' of the response to this week's violent protests which left Minneapolis in ruins after hundreds of businesses were looted and destroyed, and the Third Police Precinct was burned to the ground.
As riots raged on, President Trump threatened to 'assume control' of Minneapolis with military intervention, warning 'thugs' 'when the looting starts the shooting starts', in a tweet that was flagged by Twitter for 'glorifying violence.'
Trump tried to clarify his comments following Chauvin's arrest in another tweet saying he intended to call for peace on the streets to avoid further deaths.
'Looting leads to shooting, and that's why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don't want this to happen, and that's what the expression put out last night means....
'It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It's very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!'
The message followed an earlier tweet in which Trump urged to 'REVOKE 230!' after signing an executive order Thursday seeking to strip social media giants of their legal protections, potentially exposing them to a flood of lawsuits.
Twitter would flagged the president's incendiary tweet hours after he announced the order.
Walz told reporters earlier that Trump's tweets were 'not helpful'.
'I did speak to the President. At that point in time, it was in the process where I said we were going to assume control of this and it was unnecessary,' he said.
Governor Walz said the state would take over the response and asked citizens to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
'Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,' Walz said, adding. 'Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world - and the world is watching.'
The governor cited a call he received from a state senator who described her district 'on fire, no police, no firefighters, no social control, constituents locked in houses wondering what they were going to do. That is an abject failure that cannot happen.'
'We have to restore order...before we turn back to where we should be spending our energy - making sure that justice is served,' he said.
'We cannot have the looting and the recklessness that went on [last night].'
His comments came the morning after protesters torched a police station that officers abandoned during a third night of violence.
Livestream video showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires activated smoke alarms and sprinklers.
The governor faced tough questions after National Guard leader Major Gen. Jon Jensen blamed a lack of clarity about the Guard´s mission for a slow response.
Walz said the state was in a supporting role and that it was up to city leaders to run the situation.
Walz said it became apparent as the 3rd Precinct was lost that the state had to step in, which happened at 12:05 a.m. Requests from the cities for resources 'never came,' he said.
'You will not see that tonight, there will be no lack of leadership,' Walz said
On Friday morning, nearly every building in the shopping district around the abandoned police station had been vandalized, burned or looted.
National Guard members were in the area, with several of them lined up, keeping people away from the police station.
Dozens of volunteers swept up broken glass in the street, doing what they could to help.
Dozens of fires were also set in nearby St. Paul, where nearly 200 businesses were damaged or looted.
Protests spread across the US fueled by outrage over Floyd's death, and years of violence against African Americans at the hands of police.
Demonstrators clashed with officers in New York and blocked traffic in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver.
In Southern California, nine people were arrested after rocks were thrown at businesses, vehicles and officers during a protest in Fontana where about 100 people moved up and down a thoroughfare and blocked traffic.
Police said an unlawful assembly was declared and the crowd was ordered to disperse but some persisted.
Elsewhere in the region, demonstrators gathered outside Los Angeles police headquarters but there was no repeat of Wednesday evening's action in which protesters blocked freeways and attacked two Highway Patrol cruisers.
Chaos also spread over in New Mexico where four people in Albuquerque were taken into custody near a protest after gunshots were fired from a vehicle. There were no reports of injuries from the gunshots and it wasn't clear whether that incident was related to the protest.
Albuquerque police used a helicopter and tear gas to disperse a crowd of people after several police cars had windows broken out during an confrontation with 'an angry mob.' Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said no injuries were reported.
In New York City, NYPD officers were seen brawling on the ground with protesters as at least 70 people were arrested in the Big Apple.
Protesters in Ohio smashed the windows of the statehouse in downtown Columbus and raided the building and demonstrators damaged a police cruiser in downtown Los Angeles.
Over in Kentucky, seven people were shot in downtown Louisville during a protest demanding justice for black woman Breonna Taylor who was shot dead by cops back in March, as the Floyd case reignited tensions between cops and the African-American community.
President Trump waded in on the escalating violence in Minneapolis in the early hours of Friday as he warned he would step in and take over if officials fail to bring the rioting under control.
He blasted the 'Radical Left Mayor' Frey saying he needs to 'get his act together' while slamming protesters for 'dishonoring the memory' of Floyd and warning 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts'.
'I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.....,' the president tweeted.
'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!'
Speaking in the early hours of this morning, Mayor Frey fired back at the president and said: 'Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis.'
'Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at someone else during a time of crisis,' he said.
'Is this a difficult time period? Yes, but you'd better be damn sure that we're going to get through this.'
Frey said he understood the 'pain and anger right now in our city', but added that 'what we have seen over the last several hours and the past couple of nights in terms of looting is unacceptable'.
The mayor revealed it was him who had decided to evacuate the Third Precinct after determining that there were 'imminent threats to both officers and public'.
'The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or the public. We could not risk serious injury to anyone,' he said. 'Brick and mortar is not as important as life.'
Minneapolis city officials issued a warning for protesters and residents to flee the scene of the Third Police Precinct as gas lines were cut because 'other explosive materials are in the building'.
'If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes,' the city government wrote in a Twitter update shortly before midnight.
Protesters broke into the police precinct at around 10pm, smashing up windows and setting fires inside.
As flames engulfed the building, protesters gathered out the front chanting 'I can't breathe' - some of the last words Floyd said before he died.
Minneapolis Police released a statement saying that officers had fled the scene: 'In the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3rd Precinct of its staff. Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires.'
Timeline: George Floyd's death at the hands to Minneapolis police sparks nationwide protests
Monday, May 25
Cell phone video shows George Floyd, handcuffed and pinned to the ground, with one police officer - Derek Chauvin - kneeling on his neck for eight minutes.
Floyd, 46, is heard pleading: 'I can't breathe', as he is arrested by four cops for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. He later died.
Tuesday, May 26
Four Minneapolis officers involved in the incident, including Chauvin and Tou Thao, are fired. Minnesota Mayor Jacob Frey says it is 'the right call'.
As calls mount for the cops to face murder charges, the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension launch an investigation.
That night, the first of several protests over Floyd's death take place in Minneapolis, with protesters shouting: 'I can't breathe!'
These words echo Floyd's plea to officers but the phrase also became a rallying cry in 2014 after the death of Eric Garner, another black man who was killed in police custody during an arrest for the illegal sale of cigarettes.
Wednesday, May 27
Protests continue into a second night in Minneapolis and spread nationwide to Los Angeles and Memphis, Tennessee.
As anger mounts, the protests become violent with one person in Minneapolis shot dead, stores are looted and buildings are set on fire.
Police in riot gear fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the thousands of protesters demanding justice for Floyd.
Mayor Frey called for the officer's to be charged and said 'I want to see justice for George Floyd.'
It is revealed Chauvin been subject to at least 12 conduct reports since 2001.
Thursday, May 28
A third night of protests with demonstrations in Minneapolis, Memphis, Louisville, Phoenix, New York City and Columbus, Ohio.
Protesters burn down the Third Precinct building while 500 National Guards are dispatched to the riots in Minneapolis.
At least 70 New Yorkers are arrested after clashing with the NYPD.
Protesters in Ohio breached the city's courthouse and shots were fired at the Colorado State Capitol.
Friday, May 29
President Trump blasts ‘radial left Mayor’ Frey and warned ‘thugs’ that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ on Twitter.
The phrase comes from former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in 1967 when referring to ‘slum hoodlums’ who he believed took advantage of the Civil Rights Movement.
Twitter flags Trump’s tweet for violating its rules about glorifying violence. It comes mere days after the president was fact-checked, sparking a row with the social media giant.
Black CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez is arrested on live TV while reporting on the riots in Minneapolis
Officer Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death.