The police officer responsible for the death of George Floyd, has, on Wednesday, been charged with the more-serious offence of second-degree murder.
Charges were also brought against three other officers who were at the scene, according to the Associated Press (AP) news agency.
Floyd’s killing occurred in Minneapolis on 25 May, when the officer, Derek Chauvin, was filmed by a bystander pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
It has sparked angry protests against police brutality and racism across the US, with demonstrations now spreading around the world.
Chauvin, was sacked a day after the incident, and initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers involved were also sacked, but were not charged until Wednesday.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison brought the more serious charge against Chauvin, also charging Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, US media has reported.
Ellison called the protests sparked by the death as “dramatic and necessary”, adding that Floyd “should be here and he is not. His life had value, and we will seek justice.”
Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly demanded criminal charges against all four officers, as well as more severe charges for Chauvin, despite protests from the victim and passers-by that he could not breathe.