The arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct that had been abandoned by officers.
Prosecutors announced the charges on Friday moments after the public safety commissioner confirmed Chauvin had been arrested.
U.S. media reported on Friday that Chauvin was taken into custody. Floyd's family and many across the country who are outraged by the killing have called for the former cops to be arrested. "Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right." he said.
Mr Chauvin and three fellow officers at the scene were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department just hours after the incident.
"It was the police who continued to escalate the situation by keeping the knee on the neck for over eight minutes".
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, in charge of the investigation into the death of George Floyd and any subsequent criminal action, had pleaded for time to reach a conclusion.
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"This is by far the fastest that we've ever charged a police officer", he noted.
The Minneapolis officer was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd as he begged for his life on Monday. Floyd had moved to Minneapolis two years ago for a fresh start.
Seven people were shot and injured in protests in Louisville, more than 40 people were arrested in NY city, and shots were fired during demonstrations in Denver.
Tim Walz said at a separate news conference earlier Friday that the unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul this week is the result of "generations of pain, of anguish" over racism in policing.