It’s been nearly 10 days since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hand of a Minneapolis police officer, during which time massive protests against police violence have taken place across the country. But while tens of thousands have taken to the streets to express their anger at the systemic racism that has gripped the United States, the usually vocal Kanye West has been surprisingly quiet.
Today the rapper revealed via a representative that he has donated $2 million so far to charities associated with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and has set up a college fund to cover tuition for Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter Gianna. In addition, the rapper has pledged to cover legal costs for the Arbery and Taylor families. And in his hometown of Chicago, he’ll also be aiding black-owned businesses with financial contributions.
Shortly after the announcement, West joined protesters to march on Chicago’s South Side.
Along with former officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison with second-degree murder, in addition to the charge of third-degree murder filed last week, officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Said Ellison at a press conference on Wednesday: “George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His family was important. His life had value, and we will seek justice for him and for you, and we will find it.”
Floyd died after being pinned down by the neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
Thao was seen on video watching as Chauvin held Floyd to the ground with his knee. Floyd was seen complaining that he could not breathe, and bystanders urged the officers to come to his aid, without avail.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide, though it differed with an independent autopsy performed on behalf of the Floyd family in its conclusion on the precise cause of death. The family autopsy concluded that Floyd died of asphyxiation, while the coroner’s report indicated it was the result of the police restraint in combination with underlying medical conditions and intoxication.
All four officers were fired shortly after the arrest.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s office took over the case on Sunday, following a request from the Floyd family that the Hennepin County Attorney’s office be relieved of responsibility for the case. Some had complained that the local prosecutors office took too long to arrest and charge Chauvin, giving energy to the protests in Minneapolis.