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Family of George Floyd seeks to upgrade charge against officer to first-degree murder.

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The family of George Floyd is asking for tougher charges to be filed against the officer responsible for Floyd’s death. Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder. Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family attorney, called for the charges to be upgraded to first-degree murder on Sunday.

Crump said that the information presented so far indicates that Chauvin acted with intent to kill Floyd.

“We think that Chauvin had intent, based on not the one minute, two minute, but over eight minutes, almost nine minutes he kept his knee in a man’s neck that was begging and pleading for breath,” Crump, a longtime American civil rights attorney, said on several Sunday talk shows. “At what point does it not be about detaining a man who is face-down with handcuffs, not posing any threat, to an intentional will to cause bodily harm? And if that results in death, every prosecutor in America will show that that is first-degree murder.”

In the criminal complaint filed on Friday, prosecutors say Chauvin had his left knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes and that Floyd was unresponsive for the last three minutes. The complaint says that another officer suggested moving Floyd to his side, but that Chauvin rejected the suggestion.

“We now have the audio from the police body cam and we hear where one officer says he doesn’t have a pulse, maybe we should turn him on his side. But yet, Officer Chauvin says no, we’re going to keep him in this position. That’s intent,” said Crump on Sunday.

In another development, the owner of the nightclub where Floyd had worked as a security guard notified the family that Chauvin was also employed there as an off-duty police officer. This indicates that Floyd and Chauvin may have had a prior relationship.

Crump said that that will be an interesting aspect of the case and will hopefully help in upgrading the charges to first-degree murder.

“We believe he knew who George Floyd was,” said Crump.

Floyd’s death led to an eruption of protests across the nation this weekend where in many cases the scenes turned violent. The National Guard was activated in 15 states and mayors in at least two-dozen cities issued curfews in an effort to curb the violence.

Crump said Floyd’s family doesn’t support the violence that has taken place, but said the riots are an outward sign of righteous anger that Americans, especially African Americans, are feeling over George Floyd’s death.

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