Prosecutors say they won't 'rush' charges against officers in George Floyd's death

Prosecutors in Minnesota said Thursday evening they won't “rush” to press charges against the officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters during a press briefing that he would not “rush to justice” and plans to “do this right.” 

He said the prosecutors plan to investigate the case “as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands.” 

“That video is graphic and horrific and terrible, and no person should do that,” Freeman said. “But my job in the end is to prove that he violated a criminal statute, and there's other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”

He later asked the public for patience, saying, “Please give me and give the United States attorney the time to do this right, and we will bring you justice. I promise.”

The county attorney pointed to the case of Freddie Gray who died while in the Baltimore Police Department’s custody in 2015. All of the officers involved in the case were acquitted or their charges were dropped. 

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald said it was “imperative” that the public understands “how seriously we are taking this and how quickly and swiftly we are moving on this.” 

“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that all your ducks are in a row before you make that charging decision because you can’t undo what you’ve done if you rush,” she said.

“But if you take that time, you’re gonna do it right the first time, and you're gonna get it done the first time,” she said.

The press conference began more than an hour later than scheduled, which MacDonald said was because the prosecutors believed “we would have another development that I could tell you about.”

“Unfortunately, we don’t at this point,” she said.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died earlier this week while in police custody. A video shot by a bystander shows an officer had his knee on Floyd's neck while Floyd says he can't breathe.

Since the video became public, pressure has been mounting on prosecutors to press charges against the officer.

Violent protests and riots broke out in Minneapolis in the days after Floyd’s death and continued into Thursday.

The prosecutors’ update came shortly after Gov. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzViolent protests, fires erupt in Minneapolis over George Floyd death Omar condemns use of rubber bullets, tear gas on crowds at George Floyd protest Four Minneapolis officers involved in death of unarmed black man fired MORE (D) announced he was activating the Minnesota National Guard in response to the protests over Floyd’s death. 

The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck was fired along with three other officers Tuesday.

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