A Minnesota judge has dropped a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd earlier this year.
Chauvin still faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. A video uploaded on May 25 showed Chauvin during an arrest with his knee on Floyd’s neck and back before his death, an incident that sparked months of protests, riots, and violence across the United States.
Hennepin County Judge Peter A. Cahill on Oct. 22 granted part of Chauvin’s defense’s motion, dropping the lesser murder charge.
The motion to dismiss “charges of unintentional second-degree murder ... and second-degree manslaughter ... are DENIED,” wrote Cahill, adding that “the motion to dismiss the charge of third-degree murder is GRANTED and that charge is dismissed.”
Chauvin was released on a $1 million bond earlier this month.
Three other former Minneapolis officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. On Oct. 22, Cahill also denied motions to dismiss the charges against Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane.
Chauvin would face up to 40 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, wrote that Cahill’s move to uphold the charges against the three officers and uphold the second-degree murder charge against Chauvin is an “important step toward justice for George Floyd.”
The move to dismiss the murder charge will likely draw protests. Earlier this month, police arrested more than 50 people who demonstrated after Chauvin was released on bail.
The move to dismiss the charge drew condemnation from far-left activists on Twitter.
At the time, Walz mobilized the National Guard and state law enforcement to quell potential unrest.
Chauvin’s attorney and attorneys for the other former officers have argued that Floyd had contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, and also had a high level of fentanyl in his system. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, days after Floyd’s death, confirmed (pdf) fentanyl intoxication contributed to Floyd’s death.
His cause of death was listed as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” while his manner of death was listed by the office as “homicide.”
In August, Earl Gray, the attorney for former officer Lane, filed a motion in court that alleged Floyd contributed to his own death by consuming a lethal dose of fentanyl, FOX9 in Minneapolis reported.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5