MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday has denied an appeal from the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd for further review of the third-degree murder charge originally filed against him — placing the decision on reinstatement in the hands of Judge Peter Cahill.
On Friday, the court of appeals ruled Cahill erred in his decision not to restore the murder charge against Derek Chauvin, breaking with precedent set in the case of Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of third-degree murder in the 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. The appeals court upheld the conviction last month, which led the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to appeal Cahill’s decision to drop the charge against Chauvin.
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Chauvin originally faced second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter charges in addition to a third-degree murder charge. However, Cahill dropped the latter in the fall, citing lack of probable cause.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released this statement late Wednesday afternoon on the decision:
The Supreme Court was right to decline Mr. Chauvin’s petition for review. The Court of Appeals ruled correctly; therefore, there was no need for the Supreme Court to intervene. We believe the charge of 3rd-degree murder is fair and appropriate. We look forward to putting it before the jury, along with charges of 2nd-degree unintentional murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter.
The decision comes during the second day of jury selection, with five total jurors seated as of late Wednesday afternoon. Given the high-profile nature of the case, jury selection is expected to last three weeks, with prosecutors and Chauvin’s defense attorneys working to find 12 jurors and two alternates who are informed about the case but not biased to one particular side.
Judge Cahill says the third-degree murder charge will be discussed further on Thursday morning.