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Trial against Derek Chauvin. Photo: Getty Images.
The trial against Derek Chauvin. Photo: Getty Images.

Ex-cop accused of killing Floyd charged again with third-degree murder

Derek Chauvin, a former police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, faces up to 25 years in prison for third-degree murder.

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The trial of Derek Chauvin, accused in the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, began on Monday, March 8.

The prosecution has asked to "restore the charge of third-degree murder, which was originally included" in the Floyd case: "This is not a decision that will influence the other three defendants, who will appear in court at a later date," confirmed the judge, said Peter Cahill.

Chauvin is already being charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and would now face third-degree murder. CNN explained that such a charge is sustained "only in situations where the defendant's acts were eminently dangerous to others and were not specifically directed against the particular person who has died."

This charge gives jurors an additional option for sentencing and resolving an issue that could have delayed the trial for months.

Cahill's initial decision to dismiss the charge was based on the grounds that Chauvin's conduct could be construed as not dangerous to anyone other than Floyd.

However, prosecutors sought to validate the charge after the state Court of Appeals recently upheld the third-degree murder conviction of another former Minneapolis police officer for the 2017 killing of an Australian woman. They argued that the ruling established precedent that the charge could be brought even in a case where only one person is in danger.

"I feel bound by it and I think it would be an abuse of discretion not to grant the motion," Cahill said.

The former police officer was shown in a video kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes. The autopsy revealed that Floyd's death  was a 'homicide' as a result of "submission, restraint and compression of the neck" suffered by the victim while being restrained by the officer. Floyd died as a result of "cardiorespiratory arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers."

Chauvin is the first white officer in Minnesota to be criminally prosecuted for the death of a Black civilian, and was released from prison in early October after posting $1 million bail. He faces a maximum sentence for third-degree murder of 25 years and another 10 years for second-degree murder.

The three other officers charged in the Floyd case, Officers Lane, Thao and Kueng, face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Officer Lane, who is out on $750,000 bail, has argued that it was his first week on the force and that it was Chauvin who made the decisions that led to Floyd's death.
 

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