Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd, has had the third-degree murder charge against him reinstated following an appeals court decision.
The New York Post reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to toss the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin, a move that could delay his trial, according to KARE 11.
The appeals court determined that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill was wrong to deny the prosecution’s request to reinstate the lesser charge against Chauvin, and the case has been sent back to him for reconsideration. Cahill dropped the charge in October after Chauvin’s defense team requested it be removed.
Chauvin’s defense attorneys can appeal the latest decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court. More from KARE 11:
Third-degree murder is a complicated charge that has a legal history of only being applied in situations where the “death-causing act” is more broad and not directed at a single person. However, former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted on this charge for fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently upheld that charge, saying that it can indeed apply when the death-causing act is directed at an individual.
At that point, prosecutors asked the judge to reinstate the charge for Chauvin, as well. But the judge denied their request, saying that the appeals court’s ruling is not precedential yet. He said the decision will not be final until Noor decides not to appeal to the state Supreme Court within the window allotted, or the state Supreme Court either hears it or declines to review.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the Noor precedent was binding and that therefore the charge should be upheld against Chauvin.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter after video surfaced of him holding his knee to the neck of George Floyd, who eventually died in police custody. Chauvin was seen on video holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground, repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 sparked nationwide protests that turned into riots that destroyed businesses, costing property owners billions in damage.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, extra security measures are being taken ahead of Chauvin’s trial, with the Hennepin County District Court being turned into a “veritable fortress,” according to the Post. The Daily Wire reported:
Jury selection will begin on March 8 for the trial, where ex-police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with murdering Floyd. The Post reported that Hennepin County District Court has been “ringed with concrete barriers, security fencing, and barbed wire.” This is in addition to increased security in the area, including “Minneapolis police, Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies, Minnesota state troopers, and the National Guard,” the Post previously reported.
“We are not going to be caught flat-footed,” Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington told KTTC-TV earlier this month.