On Friday (March 5), the Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered a judge to reconsider adding a third-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer who was involved in George Floyd’s death.
According to WISN Milwaukee, a three-judge panel said Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill made a mistake when he rejected the prosecution’s motion to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against ex-cop Derek Chauvin. The panel believes Judge Cahill should have followed the precedent set by the appeals court in February when a third-degree murder conviction of former officer Mohamed Noor in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond was affirmed.
The appeals court wants Cahill to be consistent with his ruling in Chauvin’s case as he was in Noor’s case. It's not clear if Friday’s ruling will cause a delay in jury selection for the trial, which is set to begin on Monday (March 8). According to the outlet, if the third-degree murder charge is reinstated, the prosecution’s odds of getting a murder conviction could be increased.
Chauvin is currently facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges for his involvement in the death of Floyd. Back in May, the former officer planted his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes.
Earlier this week, REVOLT reported that only one family member from Chauvin and Floyd’s families would be allowed to attend the trial due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, a different family member can rotate through the in-court position with proper credentials.
Floyd’s family was disappointed by Judge Cahill’s ruling. “This has been a deeply painful and emotional year for every member of the Floyd family, many of whom intended to be in the courtroom to witness this trial,” Attorneys Antonio Romanucci and Benjamin Crump said in a statement.
“While they understand the judge’s reasons to limit attendance in the courtroom, the family is understandably disappointed by this ruling,” their statement continued. “The family is looking forward to the start of the trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives.”