On Thursday (Oct. 22), a Hennepin County judge dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck during his fatal arrest. Chauvin’s other charges — which include second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — still remain.
The hearing addressed motions from Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, all of whom asked Judge Peter A. Cahill to dismiss all charges against them. The judge refused to drop Chauvin’s second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges, as well as the charges against Thao, Kueng and Lane. The three former officers are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The state of Minnesota will have five days to decide whether or not to appeal Judge Cahill’s ruling.
Prior to Thursday’s hearing, all four defendants’ attorneys moved to have the trial relocated outside of Hennepin County. On Tuesday (Oct. 20), Kueng’s lawyer — Thomas Plunkett — claimed that an armed man had walked through the Hennepin County Courthouse yelling, “Kill Chauvin” during a hearing earlier this month. Plunkett argued that the trial should be moved outside of the county due to the alleged incident.
“The intensity accompanying these proceedings has continued to increase as time has passed and grown into the real potential for deadly violence,” Plunkett said.
“Moving these proceedings to a county that does not have a public thoroughfare passing through the lobby is necessary. This matter cannot be tried in a location where protestors may hop on a bus or train in response to a call for violence.”
Judge Cahill has yet to rule on the request.
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter four days after Floyd died in police custody. His charge was later upgraded to second-degree murder and additional charges were levied against Thao, Kueng and Lane.
The officers’ trials are currently set for next March.