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In the case of a former police officer Derek Chauvin accused of killing George Floyd, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill reinstated a third-degree murder charge Thursday, March 11, 2021. Chauvin’s attempt to have the Supreme Court block the charges failed, opening the door for Judge Cahill to grant the prosecution’s request to reinstate the charges.
Last fall, the judge dismissed the third-degree murder charges because he felt that the basis for those charges did not fit Chauvin’s case. Minnesota law requires that to establish third-degree murder charges, Chauvin’s actions would have to be dangerous to the lives of others, not just George Floyd.
But the recent ruling in an unrelated case provided new grounds just days before jury selection in Chauvin’s trial.
Chauvin has already been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, which carries a max sentence of 40-years. This new third-degree charge carries a max sentence of 25-years.
Judge Cahill Thursday said:
I am granting the motion because although these cases are factually different I don’t think it’s a factual difference that weighs in favor of denying the motion to reinstate. When the intent is directed at a single person, then third-degree murder may apply. Single acts directed at a single person fall within the gambit of murder in the third degree.
Days after Floyd’s death, Chauvin and three other officers were fired and arrested and charged with aiding, abetting second-degree murder, and manslaughter. Their trial is slated for August because prosecutors wanted to add the third-degree charges.
Opening statements in the Chauvin trial will likely begin on March 29, 2021.
Written by Omari Jahi
NBC News: Judge reinstates third-degree murder charge against ex-cop Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s death, By Janelle Griffith
CNN: Judge reinstates third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s death, Brad Parks, Aaron Cooper, and Eric Levenson
Featured Image by Fibonacci Blue Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Ken Lund’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License