Prosecutors want to add third-degree murder charges against the four former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd.
On Thursday (Feb. 4), Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed the motion after the state’s Court of Appeals recently upheld a third-degree murder charge against former officer Mohamed Noor for the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. In Noor’s case, the appeals court ruled that “third-degree murder may occur even if the death-causing act endangered only one person.”
“Because the decision in Noor is precedential and now provides this court with clear guidance regarding the elements of third-degree murder, the State respectfully requests that the court reinstate the third-degree murder charge,” the motion reads.
Ellison is now asking that the third-degree murder charge be reinstated for Derek Chauvin, the former officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, or that his complaint be amended to incorporate the charge. He is currently charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The attorney general also wants the third-degree murder charge added to the complaints against Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — the other three officers who were involved in Floyd’s death. The former Minneapolis cops are currently charged with aiding and abetting manslaughter and murder.
Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. In October, Judge Peter A. Cahill dismissed the ex-cop’s third-degree murder charge due to lack of probable cause because it could only be used “in situations in which the defendant’s actions ... were not specifically directed at that particular person whose death occurred.”
Chauvin is scheduled to stand trial alone in March and the other three men are scheduled to appear in front of a judge together in August. All four men are currently out on bail.