Hennepin County Attorney: Officers involved in George Floyd's death not cooperating with investigation

State and federal law enforcement officials vowed to conduct a meticulous investigation as fast as possible into the death of George Floyd, but the Hennepin County Attorney says the officers involved in the incident are not cooperating. 

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agreed that the investigations should be done as fast as possible, but that justice in the Floyd case may take some time.

George Floyd died at the hospital after he was detained by Minneapolis police officers near the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South Monday night. A video taken by a bystander showed one of the officers, now identified as Derek Chauvin, pinning Floyd to the ground and pressing his knee into his neck as Floyd repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe.” 

There will be two investigations. At the state level, Hennepin County Mike Freeman will explore murder charges for the death of Floyd. At the federal level, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald will explore if any hate crimes occurred.

State investigation

As of Thursday afternoon, Freeman said the four officers involved in the incident are pleading the 5th and not cooperating with his investigation. 

Freeman said his office will be careful to review all the evidence and not charge anyone too quickly. 

Freeman said he has been in contact with Floyd’s family several times and vowed to move the investigation along “as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”

He said his office has received thousands of calls and messages calling for swift action. He promised to do so, but asked for everyone’s patience during the process.

Federal investigation

Thursday, MacDonald announced her office would be conducting a “robust and meticulous investigation” into the incident. She added that President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr are both actively monitoring the case, too.

MacDonald noted that, at the federal level, the prosecutors will focus on hate crimes. That means MacDonald’s office must prove “the subject took action or did not take action when he or she knew it was wrong and chose to do it anyway.”

MacDonald, along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Rainer Drolshagen, will be conducting the federal investigation. Parallel to that will be Freeman’s murder investigation.