Police officers involved in George Floyd's murder charged with aiding and abetting

The three Minneapolis police officers, who were involved in George Floyd's death now face charges.

According to a court statement, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng all face aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder charges, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The details of the charges they are set to face have not been formally announced, although CNN reported the trio will face allegations of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Derek Chauvin, the fourth officer who had already been charged with third-degree murder in the case, will now be charged with second-degree murder in addition to the previous charge against him.

Chauvin, who is white, was charged on Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after video footage emerged showing him kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd, who was unarmed and helpless, lay handcuffed, crying out that he could not breathe until he became unconscious.

Two separate autopsies, one commissioned by Floyd's family and another performed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, both found that Floyd's death was a homicide, but differed in their determinations of its causes.

The Hennepin County medical examiner's autopsy found that Floyd died from "cardiopulmonary arrest" that was complicated by police subduing him with restraint and neck compression. The autopsy also cited underlying health conditions as contributing to his death.

Attorney Ben Crump said Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison has informed the Floyd family that Chauvin's murder charge would be elevated to first-degree murder if additional evidence supported it.

Mr Crump said in a statement: “This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd's body was laid to rest."

A spokesman for Floyd’s family welcomed the news, saying: ‘This is a bittersweet moment for the family."

"We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder."

Floyd's death has sparked widespread protests against police violence in dozens of cities across the country, with demonstrators and Floyd's family calling for charges to be brought against Thao, Kueng and Lane

At least 9,300 people have been arrested across the United States amid the continuing protests.

Crump emphasised that Americans should continue fighting to demand change from the country’s police officers.

“We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support by Americans in cities across the country, and we urge them to raise their voices for change in peaceful ways,” Crump said.

He added: “Our message to them is: Find constructive and positive ways to keep the focus and pressure on. Don’t let up on your demand for change.”

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has outraged faith leaders and protesters for walking to a historic church near the White House and creating a photo opportunity, just minutes after police used chemical smoke canisters and flashbangs on peaceful protesters to clear the area.

The visit was the second Mr Trump made to a religious site in the space of a day. On Monday evening, the president left the White House to visit the St John’s Episcopal Church, for a photo opportunity.