A law firm representing the wife of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd has said she has filed for divorce.
Sekula Law Offices said in a release that Kellie Chauvin was devastated by Floyd’s death and her “utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone else who is grieving this tragedy.”
Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the police force after Floyd’s death, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Floyd died after the officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
The statement said that while Kellie Chauvin has no children from her current marriage, she is asking for privacy for her extended family during this difficult time.
Chauvin, 44, was arrested Friday. He also was accused of ignoring another officer who expressed concerns about Floyd as he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading that he could not breathe while Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Floyd, who was black, had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a store.
Chauvin faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted of murder.
An attorney for Floyd’s family welcomed the arrest but said he expected a more serious murder charge and wants the other officers arrested, too.
Prosecutor Mike Freeman said more charges were possible, but authorities “felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”
Protests nationwide have been fueled by outrage over Floyd’s death and years of police violence against African Americans. Protesters smashed windows at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, set a police car on fire and struck officers with bottles. Large demonstrations in New York, Houston, Washington, DC, and dozens of other cities ranged from people peacefully blocking roads to repeated clashes with police.
Police were trying to put Floyd in a squad car Monday when he stiffened and fell to the ground, saying he was claustrophobic, a criminal complaint said. Chauvin and Officer Tou Thoa arrived and tried several times to get the struggling Floyd into the car.
Chauvin eventually pulled Floyd out of the car, and the handcuffed Floyd went to the ground face down. Officer J.K. Kueng held Floyd’s back and Officer Thomas Lane held his legs while Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s head and neck area, the complaint said.
When Lane asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side, Chauvin said, “No, staying put is where we got him.” Lane said he was “worried about excited delirium or whatever.”
An autopsy said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. It revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death.
There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller describes the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”
After Floyd apparently stopped breathing, Lane again said he wanted to roll Floyd onto his side. Kueng checked for a pulse and said he could not find one, according to the complaint.
Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, including nearly three minutes after Floyd stopped moving and talking, the complaint said.
Chauvin’s attorney had no comment when reached by The Associated Press.
The prosecutor highlighted the “extraordinary speed” in charging the case four days after Floyd’s death and defended himself against questions about why it did not happen sooner. Freeman said his office needed time to gather evidence, including what he called the “horrible” video recorded by a bystander.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, asked to take custody of Floyd’s body for an independent autopsy.
The doctor who will do the autopsy is Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was hired to do an autopsy for Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 after New York police placed him in a chokehold and he pleaded that he could not breathe.
State and federal authorities also are investigating Floyd’s death.