Following the death of George Floyd in June 2020, a nationwide series of protests began that caused a lot of chaos with ensuing property destruction and demands for racial equality amid creating conditions that for many would unfortunately further the trend of deteriorating racial relationships at a politically intense period.
However, in another development as a follow up to what is an important case being watched by many people, a judge has dismissed one of the charges against (former) Officer Chauvin.
A Minnesota judge has dismissed a third-degree murder charge filed against the former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck, but the more serious second-degree murder charge remains.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill’s ruling was dated Wednesday and made public Thursday. Cahill said there was enough probable cause for the second-degree murder charge and manslaughter charge against Derek Chauvin to proceed to trial. Cahill also denied defense requests to dismiss the aiding and abetting counts against three other former officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao.
“In this court’s view, with one exception, the State has met its burden of showing probable cause that warrants proceeding to trial against each of these Defendants on each of the criminal charges the State has filed against them,” Cahill wrote. He said it will be up to a jury to decide whether the officers are guilty.
Prosecutors argued there was probable cause for the officers to go to trial on all of the charges, saying Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd, which is an element of the second-degree murder charge, and that the other officers assisted.
During the entire time that Floyd was pinned to the ground, “the officers remained in the same position: Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, Kueng and Lane remained atop Floyd’s back and legs, and Thao continued to prevent the crowd of concerned citizens from interceding,” prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys argued that there was not enough probable cause to charge the former officers. Chauvin’s attorney said his client had no intent to assault or kill Floyd, while attorneys for the other officers argued that their clients did not intend or conspire to help Chauvin.
Defense attorneys said Floyd’s drug use was a factor in his death, with Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, saying Floyd most likely died of “fentanyl or a combination of fentanyl and methamphetamine in concert with his underlying health conditions.” (source)