The Minnesota Supreme Court has denied a petition to review a state appellate court decision that would allow a third-degree murder charge to be reinstated against the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Chauvin’s legal team challenged the Court of Appeals decision that indicated it was an appropriate charge. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill announced the development in court Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, the charge was reinstated.
Prior to the judge’s decision, the defense argued that using a restraint hold approved by the City of Minneapolis is not the same thing as shooting someone with a gun, and not inherently dangerous to warrant a 3rd degree murder charge.
The third-degree murder charge carries a less standard for prosecutors to overcome but experts have shared with Law Officer that burden remains strong.
Third-degree murder in Minnesota defined
Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.
The third-degree charge could still remain an obstacle for the prosecutor to overcome.
As we have previously reported on, officers had called paramedics to the scene long before Floyd was placed on the ground at his request. Chauvin was also following a department approved tactic called a “neck restraint” and a 2018 training on excited delirium that Minneapolis officers were given stated that if they observed a person in distress that they believed was excited delirium, they should subdue them and call for medical assistance. That training coincides with several medical journals and there will no doubt be experts that will testify to the appropriateness of the tactic and subsequent decision to subdue Floyd in an effort to reduce his heart rate and thus prolong his life.
The autopsy report will also not be of help as it shows a dose of fentanyl in Floyd’s system that was four times higher than what medical experts considered including methamphetamine, marijuana, continine, morphine, caffeine and amphetamines.
Floyd was also positive for COVID-19, had arteriosclerotic heart disease, hypertension heart disease and Cardiomegaly (540 g) with mild biventricular dilatation.