A US judge has granted prosecutors’ request to add a third-degree murder charge against an ex-Minneapolis officer who allegedly killed George Floyd by pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, after a court had earlier decided that the charge shouldn’t have been tossed against the officer.
A court had earlier decided a third-degree murder charge shouldn’t have been tossed against Derek Chauvin, who is already facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
A Minnesota Court of Appeals decided on March 5 that a trial court judge should not have refused to reinstate that charge against Chauvin.
In adding the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill offered the jury an additional option for conviction and resolving an issue that might have delayed his trial for months.
Cahill reinstated the charge after Chauvin, failed to get appellate courts to block it.
He 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.
Defense lawyer Eric Nelson had contended that he is not ready to argue the additional charge.
Floyd died May 25 after being pinned to the ground by Chauvin. Floyd, who was handcuffed, cried out repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. The incident was captured on video and sparked protests around the country against police brutality and systemic racism.