On Thursday, prosecutors asked the court to reinstate one charge and add three new charges in the case against the four former Minnesota police officers involved in George Floyd’s death.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a motion to have a third-degree murder charge reinstated against Derek Chauvin, 44, citing this week’s Minnesota Court of Appeals decision which upheld ex-Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor’s third-degree murder conviction in Justine Damond’s 2017 shooting death. Prosecutors also requested aiding and abetting third-degree murder be added to their case against Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, according to the Star Tribune.
KARE reported that prosecutors initially charged Chauvin with third-degree murder, but defense attorneys had the charge dropped after successfully arguing that third-degree murder pertains to instances in which the defendant’s actions were not specifically intended for the decedent.
Currently, Chauvin is facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd’s death. Lane, Kueng, and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. All four Minneapolis police officers were fired in light of Floyd’s death.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 46, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket.
After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
While Hennepin County’s autopsy report stated that there was no evidence “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” an independent autopsy asserted that sustained forceful pressure on Floyd’s neck and back led to his death.
Chauvin will be tried separately from Lane, Thao, and Kueng. Chauvin’s trial is scheduled to begin in March, while the three other officers’ trial is set to start this summer.
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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, Tuo Thao/Hennepin County Jail]