Judge Upholds Second-Degree Murder, Manslaughter Charges Against Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s Death

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A judge ruled to uphold the charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter on Thursday — but dropped a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.

Hennepin County Judge Peter A. Cahill also denied motions to dismiss charges against the other now-former Minneapolis police officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.

They have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Cahill’s ruling asserts that it should be left to a jury to decide whether the state of Minnesota has proven the guilt of the former officers, adding that the state has met the burden of probable cause in the charges against Thao, Lane and Kueng.

Cahill wrote the charge can “be sustained only in situations in which the defendant’s actions were ’eminently dangerous to other persons’ and were not specifically directed at the particular person whose death occurred.”

On May 25, Chauvin was captured on camera kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd pleaded with him and the three other officers at the scene — that he couldn’t breathe. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back while Lane knelt on his legs, using his hands to restrain them.

Floyd’s death ignited worldwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.

Chauvin was arrested on May 29 before being released on a $1 million bond earlier this month. Conditions of his bail include surrendering any of his firearms and remaining in the state until trial. Chauvin is also barred from working in law enforcement and must avoid any contact with the Floyd family.

Following the ruling, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison issued a statement calling the decision a “positive step forward in the path toward justice for George Floyd, his family, our community, and Minnesota.”

“The court has sustained eight out of nine charges against the defendants in the murder of George Floyd, including the most serious charges against all four defendants,” Ellison said. “This means that all four defendants will stand trial for murder and manslaughter, both in the second degree.”

All four officers were fired and are set to be charged in March.

Originally posted 2020-10-22 13:00:15.

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