The decade's most triggering comedy
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin asked a Minnesota appeals court on Wednesday to throw out his conviction over the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin is currently serving a 22.5-year prison sentence that he received in June 2021 after a jury found him guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, told the court that his client’s trial should not have been held in Minneapolis.
“Our primary argument here is that this case could not be tried in Minneapolis because of the pretrial publicity which was pervasive … and also just the physical pressure on the courthouse,” Mohrman said, according to NPR.
The attorney wrote in a brief filed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the trial’s intense publicity, the public unrest and riots surrounding Floyd’s death, a $27 million settlement paid by the city of Minneapolis to Floyd’s family, and other factors justified moving the trial. Mohrman also accused prosecutors of misconduct, according to Fox News.
Attorney for Minnesota Neal Katyal said Chauvin’s trial was “one of the most transparent and thorough … in our nation’s history.” He said that Mohrman’s arguments “do not come close” to justifying tossing Chauvin’s convictions. “The evidence of Chauvin’s guilt was captured on video for the world to see,” he said, according to NPR.
Chauvin has also been sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights. If he were to appeal his convictions over Floyd’s death successfully, the former officer would remain in prison under the civil rights charge. Chauvin is serving each sentence concurrently at a federal prison in Arizona.
The former officer is barred from appealing the federal conviction under a plea agreement he struck with prosecutors. The agreement allowed him to avoid the life sentence he was facing if convicted. It also allowed him to move out of a Minnesota state prison where he may have been at increased risk and transfer to a federal lockup.
Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd as Chauvin and several other officers attempted to arrest Floyd in May 2020. Video of the arrest showed Floyd resisting officers’ commands until they subdued him on the ground. Chauvin then kneeled on Floyd’s shoulders and neck for roughly nine minutes. Video of the arrest sparked unrest and riots across major American cities.