On Thursday, a Minneapolis judge reinstated a third-degree murder charge against the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill reintroduced the charge against ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin Thursday morning. According to the Star Tribune, his decision comes a day after the Minnesota Supreme Court denied Chauvin’s attorney’s request to review the Court of Appeals’ ruling that said Cahill was wrong in dismissing third-degree murder charges in November.
Chauvin is also facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd’s death. Jury selection in his case began on Tuesday.
State prosecutors revisited Chauvin’s third-degree murder charge in early February after the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld ex-Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor’s third-degree murder conviction in Justine Damond’s 2017 shooting death.
On Friday, the appellate court sided with prosecutors and ordered Judge Cahill to reconsider whether Chauvin will face third-degree murder charges.
The three other ex-officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Last month, prosecutors sought to add aiding and abetting third-degree murder charges to their cases. It is not immediately clear if the pending dispute will affect their charges.
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. Both reports mentioned drugs in Floyd’s system but concluded his death was a homicide.
Chauvin will be tried separately from the other three former officers. Their trial is scheduled to begin this summer.
Juror selection in Chauvin’s case is expected to take several weeks.
This story is developing.
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[Featured image: Derek Chauvin/Hennepin County jail; George Floyd; Facebook]