US President Donald Trump said Friday he had talked with the family of George Floyd, the African American man who died in Minneapolis while a policeman kneeled on his neck during an arrest, sparking riots.
“I spoke to members of the family, terrific people,” Trump said at the White House.
"I want to express our Nation's deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of George Floyd." pic.twitter.com/eGRIJCiHUa— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020
Trump has been criticized for earlier comments on Twitter that called protesters in Minneapolis “THUGS” and warning that “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
In his latest comments, Trump said he supported peaceful protests but said “we can’t allow a situation like happened in Minneapolis to descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos.”
“I understand the hurt, I understand the pain. People have really been through a lot. The family of George is entitled to justice and the people of Minnesota are entitled to live in safety,” he said.
Ex-Minneapolis officer faces 12-plus years on murder count
Meanwhile, a former Minneapolis police officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who died in custody after pleading that he couldn’t breathe, was charged Friday with two of the same counts that led to a 12 1/2-year prison sentence for another former officer from his department.
State prosecutors charged Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend 12 1/2 years for a conviction on the murder count and four years on the manslaughter charge.
Former Officer Mohamed Noor got exactly the 12 1/2-year guidelines sentence after he was convicted in 2019 of killing Justine Damond, an unarmed Australian woman living in Minneapolis who was fatally shot after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault.
Judges have some discretion. The guidelines allow a range of nearly 11 years to 15 years for third-degree murder and less than 3 1/2 years to nearly five years for manslaughter, but the system is designed to result in close to the recommended sentence most of the time.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said more charges are possible. He also charged Noor with second-degree murder, but the jury acquitted him on that count. The guidelines recommend 12 1/2 years for unintentional second-degree murder but go up to 25 1/2 for intentional second-degree murder.