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Chauvin Trial Paused While Additional Charges Are Weighed

Jury selection for the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with George Floyd’s murder was delayed Monday as additional charges are weighed against the former officer, CBS Minnesota reported.

Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd’s neck while arresting him in May 2020, CBS Minnesota reported, but the court is considering reinstating third-degree murder as a charge.

Prosecutors asked Judge Peter Cahill to delay Chauvin’s trial while the appeals process is completed, but Cahill said the jury selection process would continue, CBS Minnesota reported. Potential jurors were excused, however, after prosecutors said they would contact the Minnesota Court of Appeals if Cahill allowed the selection process to proceed.

Chauvin’s attorney said he would take the appellate court’s decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court during a pre-trial hearing, CBS Minnesota reported.

Prosecutors said in a motion that Cahill does not have the authority to continue the trial as the defense appeals the third-degree murder charge, CBS Minnesota reported. Jury selection could be delayed for weeks as the appeal moves through the appeals court.

Chauvin pled not guilty on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, CBS Minnesota reported. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck as he lied face down and handcuffed in a street for nearly nine minutes during an arrest, video shows.

Floyd’s death led to nationwide demonstrations including some that resulted in violence and rioting.

Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, though Cahill dropped the additional charge because of probable cause, CBS Minnesota reported. The Minnesota Court of Appeals told Cahill to reconsider after prosecutors appealed the decision not to charge Chauvin with third-degree murder.

“Third-degree murder in Minnesota involves killing another person without premeditation and intent, through inherently dangerous acts, and with no regard for human life,” according to Rivers Law Firm. “The charge of third-degree murder encompasses unintentional murders, “depraved mind” murders and certain drug-related deaths, including drug-induced homicide.”

The appellate court told Cahill to keep with the precedent set in the 2019 case against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, CBS Minnesota reported. Noor was convicted of a third-degree murder charge after shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Minneapolis as the trial was scheduled to officially begin Monday morning, CBS Minnesota reported.

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