The other former officers -- J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, they could also face up to 40 years in prison.
"This moment is a tipping point to change America," Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said. "All the world is watching."
Floyd's son Quincy Mason told CNN's Sara Sidner that his family wants justice. "I'm here with my family. We demand justice. My father shouldn't have been killed like this," he said.
At a news conference announcing the charges, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said the evidence gathered in the ongoing investigation supports the more serious murder charge.
The new charges were not influenced by the public outcry in the case nor the fact that a public memorial is scheduled for Floyd on Thursday, Ellison said.
Kueng was taken into custody Wednesday, online records show. Authorities expect to arrest Lane and Thao on Wednesday afternoon.
'I don't think we get another chance to fix this'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz visited the site of the fatal encounter for the first time Wednesday.
Walz said he's been wanting to visit the scene. But "I very much worry about white politicians appropriating black pain. And that's certainly not it. I have to personally and viscerally feel this," he said.
"It's unfortunate I've become friends with mothers only because their sons were killed," the governor said.
And like the protesters demanding an end to police brutality, Walz said America must change now.
"I don't think we get another chance to fix this in the country," he said. "I think being at the heart of this and seeing the community's pain so viscerally, this is going to have to be that change that we look for."
Protesters practice civil disobedience across the US
In Philadelphia, protests culminated Tuesday with nine minutes of silence.
In Los Angeles, a group of protesters knelt with their hands up in peace signs outside the home of Mayor Eric Garcetti as they waited to be arrested.
In Atlanta, where days ago a police car was set on fire, a large crowd marched peacefully through the same area.
"We want peace," said Joseph Haynes, a demonstrator in Los Angeles. "Look at all these wonderful people out here. Look at us. And this is not just black people."
"He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle. If there is a problem she's having and she needs her daddy, she does not have that anymore," Washington said of Floyd's daughter, Gianna.
"I am here for my baby, and I'm here for George because I want justice for him."
Conflict, confrontations and counterprotesters
Since May 26, the day after Floyd's death, at least 9,839 people fhave been arrested nationwide during protests, according to CNN's tally from agencies across the country.
While Tuesday night's protests were much more peaceful than the previous night, there were some skirmishes.
Milwaukee police fired tear gas after agitators threw rocks and glass at officers.
In Los Angeles, hundreds of protesters were arrested, LAPD spokesman Tony Im said.
In New York City, at least 40 protesters were arrested.
Some residents have filed formal complaints against officers' conduct during protests. The Seattle Office of Police Accountability received about 14,000 complaints about the conduct of Seattle police during demonstrations over the weekend, spokeswoman Anne Bettesworth said Tuesday.
Pockets of counterprotesters have also emerged.
Maintaining the peace and making change
New measures have been taken to help improve safety of the demonstrations and concerns at the heart of the protests.
The activity was tied to a group called American Guard, according to Facebook. The Anti-Defamation League says American Guard "has a background with connections to anti-immigrant extremism, hatred, and violence."
In Minnesota, Gov. Walz said the Department of Human Rights is launching a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, which will look into practices from the last 10 years.
The inquiry will try to determine whether police engaged in "systemic discriminatory practices towards people of color and ensure any such practices are stopped."
And to provide relief for businesses that have been harmed during protests, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a $10 million fund.
Measures "critical to resolving our crisis" will be implemented within the next 90 days, the mayor said.
"I stand with those who are sick and tired of the lack of fundamental change," Lightfoot said. "Change that results in the respect, dignity, and freedom that black people deserve in this country."