Kanye West may have remained uncharacteristically silent in the ten days since George Floyd’s death in custody of Minneapolis police officers, but the rapper told Variety Thursday via a representative that he has donated $2 million already to charities associated with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and has also set up a college fund for Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter Gianna.
The rapper also pledged to cover the Arbery and Taylor families’ legal costs, adding that he would be contributing financially to black-owned businesses in Chicago. He has yet to speak publicly on the issue, although wife Kim Kardashian issued a public statement last week saying she was “infuriated” and “disgusted” by Floyd’s death.
Floyd’s died on May 25 after former police officer Derek Chauvin was videotaped kneeling on his neck for several minutes as the man pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Chauvin would be charged with second-degree murder, in addition to the charge of third-degree murder filed last week. Three other fired officers who were on the scene — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
In a widely-circulated video of Floyd’s arrest, Thao was recorded watching as Chauvin pressed on Floyd’s neck with his knee, while Kueng was one of the first officers on the scene who helped pin Floyd to the ground. Lane reportedly pointed a gun at Floyd before he was handcuffed, and later asked if officers should roll Floyd on his side as he was restrained.
Floyd family lawyer Benjamin Crump said in a statement on his client’s behalf, saying that the charges were a “bittersweet moment” for them. The family feels “deeply gratified” that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office took “decisive action” by arresting and charging all the officers involved in Floyd’s death, the family continued, and “happy to hear” that officials have upgraded Chauvin’s murder charge.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement Thursday, “The charges announced by Attorney General Keith Ellison today are a meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd. But we must also recognize that the anguish driving protests around the world is about more than one tragic incident.”
Calling Floyd’s death “the symptom of a disease,” Walz continued, “We will not wake up one day and have the disease of systemic racism cured for us. This is on each of us to solve together, and we have hard work ahead.” He concluded: “We owe that much to George Floyd, and we owe that much to each other.”