Judge Reinstates Third-Degree Murder Charge against Derek Chauvin over George Floyds Death

"George Floyd" by chaddavis.photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

3/11/21 By Caroline Rangel

“George Floyd” by chaddavis.photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Judge Peter Cahill reinstated a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin. The former Minneapolis police officer was charged for George Floyd’s death after kneeling on the neck of the unarmed Black man for over 9 minutes. 

George Floyd’s death back in May 2020 drew worldwide outrage and countless individuals called for police reform and racial justice. Three other officers will be trialed jointly in August under aiding and abetting charges. 

Previously, Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. However, now prosecutors can motion a third-degree murder charge, meaning a lower standard of proof is required compared to before.  

In order to win a conviction on third degree-murder, prosecutors need to prove that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death in an act that is “eminently dangerous” to others. Convicting Chauvin of second-degree murder will require prosecutors to prove Chauvin caused Floyd’s death while committing or attempting to commit a related felony.

The ex-police officer was initially charged with third-degree murder, but judge Cahill dropped the charges in October, arguing that Minnesota law only permits for the charge against someone who causes death in an act that endangers multiple people, not in an act directed at one person.  

Proceedings are ongoing and are anticipated to last about three weeks.