Hawaii joins global protests against racism and police brutality
By Cindy Ellen Russell |
June 3, 2020
| Updated on June 3, 2020 at 8:23 pm
Video by Cassie Ordonio
More than 200 demonstrators rallied at the state Capitol on June 3 to protest police brutality against African Americans.
Over 200 people gathered at the Hawaii State Capitol in unity against racism and police brutality on Wednesday. Global outrage has been ignited by the recent killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin who has since been charged with murder.
Prosecutors charged three more police officers Wednesday in the death of George Floyd and filed a new, tougher charge against the officer at the center of the case, Derek Chauvin, delivering a victory to protesters who have filled the streets from coast to coast to fight police brutality and racial injustice.
Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, now must defend himself against an accusation of second-degree murder. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four were fired last week. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison. Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Those charges still stand.
The new second-degree murder charge alleges that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death without intent while committing another felony, namely third-degree assault. It carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, compared with a maximum of 25 years for third-degree murder.
The other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — face the same maximum penalties for aiding and abetting. All three men were in custody by Wednesday evening. Chauvin was arrested last week and is still being held. The multiple charges against each officer would offer a jury more options to find them guilty.
The charges were sought by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who called the protests unleashed by the death “dramatic and necessary” and said Floyd “should be here and he is not.”
“His life had value, and we will seek justice,” said Ellison, who cautioned that winning convictions would be hard and said that public pressure had no bearing on his decisions.
The move by prosecutors punctuated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bouts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, rampant thefts and arson in some places.
Nationwide, more than 9,000 have been arrested in connection with unrest. At least 12 deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out. Minnesota has opened a civil rights investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a pattern of discrimination against minorities.