Appeals court upholds Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the second-degree murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 killing of George Floyd, rejecting Chauvin’s request for a new trial.

Chauvin, who is white, was called to arrest Floyd, who was Black, outside a store after the clerk believed the 43-year-old was attempting to pay with counterfeit money.

After placing Floyd in handcuffs, Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. Video footage of the incident heard Floyd repeatedly telling Chauvin and the other officers on the scene he could not breathe. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.

Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 1/2 years after jurors found him guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin also faced a separate federal civil rights charge, for which he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison. He is serving his federal sentence in Arizona concurrent with his state sentence.

Last April, Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, appealed the conviction in an 82-page brief, arguing the former police officer did not receive a fair trial, jurors — who were not sequestered during the trial — felt pressured to convict, and Chauvin’s case should have been moved out of Minneapolis.

“The primary issue on this appeal is whether a criminal defendant can get a fair trial consistent with constitutional requirements in a courthouse surrounded by concrete block, barbed wire, two armored personnel carriers, and a squad of National Guard troops, all of which or whom are there for one purpose: in the event that the jury acquits the defendant,” Mohrman said in oral arguments in January.

The appeal also argued Chauvin, as an on-duty police officer, could not be convicted of second-degree unintentional murder involving third-degree assault because on-duty officers are authorized to use force when the suspect they are arresting is resisting.

But on Monday, the three-judge appeals court denied the appeal, stating although police officers “undoubtedly have a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job … no one is above the law.”

“When they commit a crime, they must be held accountable just as those individuals that they lawfully apprehend,” Appeals Judge Peter Reyes wrote for the panel. “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.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.