A lawyer for the family of George Floyd, whose death sparked unrest across the US, has accused a police officer of “premeditated murder”.
Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder, but lawyer Benjamin Crump says it was a case of first-degree murder.
“We think that he had intent… almost nine minutes he kept his knee in a man’s neck that was begging and pleading for breath,” he said.
The Floyd case in Minneapolis has ignited US anger over police killings of black Americans.
The case follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York and others that have driven the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the video footage, Derek Chauvin, 44, was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes on Monday, Floyd, 46, repeatedly said that he was unable to breathe.
“The fact that officer Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for almost three minutes after he was unconscious. We don’t understand how that was not first-degree murder. We don’t understand how all these officers haven’t been arrested,” lawyer Crump said.
Three other officers who were present at the time have also been sacked.
The lawyer said Chauvin already knew Floyd before Floyd’s death in custody.
He said the Floyd family was “notified by the owner of a club that Derek Chauvin was an off-duty police officer where George Floyd was a security guard, and so they had to overlap”.