The world watched in horror as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck and ended his life in May 2020. Less than a year later, in April 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison. He appealed his case, but it appears that it won’t be moving through the legal system any further.
The Associated Press reported today (April 17) that the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Chauvin’s murder conviction and kept his sentence in place. It comes a year and a half after his legal team filed to have his case reviewed and possibly overturned.
The former cop’s attorney previously asked the appeals court to throw out his client’s convictions for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. His lawyer cited several reasons why the case should be looked at again, including the fact that his trial faced massive publicity before it started.
A three-judge panel sided with prosecutors, reiterating that Chauvin received a fair trial and fitting sentence.
“Police officers undoubtedly have a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job. However, no one is above the law,” Appeals Judge Peter Reyes wrote for the panel, per the AP. “When they commit a crime, they must be held accountable just as those individuals that they lawfully apprehend. The law only permits police officers to use reasonable force when effecting a lawful arrest. Chauvin crossed that line here when he used unreasonable force on Floyd.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who assembled the prosecution team, stood behind the court’s decision in a statement. “[We’re] grateful we have a system where everyone, no matter how egregious their offense, is entitled to due process and fair treatment,” he said. “The court’s decision today shows once again no one is above the law — and no one is beneath it.”