Judge OKs 3rd-degree murder charge for Chauvin trial

Judge Peter Cahill added the charge after Derek Chauvin's legal team failed to get appellate courts to block it


By Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A judge on Thursday granted prosecutors’ request to add a third-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill added the charge after the former officer, Derek Chauvin, failed to get appellate courts to block it. Cahill had earlier rejected the charge as not warranted by the circumstances of Floyd’s death, but an appellate court ruling in an unrelated case established new grounds for it.

A National Guard soldier walks inside the fenced-off plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Minneapolis where the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues with jury selection.
A National Guard soldier walks inside the fenced-off plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Minneapolis where the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues with jury selection. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Chauvin already faced second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Legal experts say the additional charge helps prosecutors by giving jurors one more option to convict Chauvin.

Potential jurors in Chauvin’s trial return Thursday to continue the selection process that started this week.

Floyd was declared dead on May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against the Black man’s neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s death sparked sometimes violent protests in Minneapolis and beyond, leading to a nationwide reckoning on race.

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