CNB News – Minnesota Judge Peter Cahill has reinstated the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd last May.
Chauvin, in addition to the third-degree murder charge, also faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
On Friday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Cahill should reconsider the third-degree murder charge, which was dismissed in October.
The question of whether the charge should be reinstated initially delayed the start of jury selection in the high-profile case from Monday to Tuesday.
Cahill sought guidance from the Court of Appeals on the matter. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), the lead prosecutor, filed a motion with the appellate court seeking to pause all aspects of the trial, including jury selection, until the matter was settled.
The state appellate court recently affirmed a third-degree murder conviction in the case of Mohamed Noor, the only Minneapolis police officer to be convicted of murder. Ellison and his team argued that the new decision by the appeals court set precedent for the third-degree murder charged to be reinstated. Cahill on Thursday morning agreed.
“I feel bound by that and I feel it would be an abuse of discretion not to grant the motion,” the judge said.
Legal experts have said that the additional murder charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, increases the prosecution’s chances of getting a conviction.
Floyd’s death sparked a nationwide movement calling for sweeping police reform and to root out systemic racism.
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