March 11 (UPI) — The judge in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday reinstated a third-degree murder charge after defense attorneys failed to get the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn a lower ruling.
Chauvin now faces the third-degree murder charge, along with charges of murder and manslaughter in the second degree, in the death of George Floyd last year. Chauvin’s trial began with jury selection this week.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill initially rejected third-degree murder charge from prosecutors, but an appellate court ordered him last week to consider reinstating it. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court denied Chauvin’s request to appeal that order.
Cahill said he disagreed with how the appellate court reached its decision, but agreed with its final analysis. He added that he is duty-bound to grant the motion to reinstate the third-degree charge, which now gives jurors a third conviction option.
Jury selection in Chauvin’s trial began on Tuesday and continued Thursday.
Chauvin was the officer shown on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes on May 25, 2020. Floyd died after repeatedly calling for help, saying he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin’s attorneys argue that the officers were following protocol when they subdued Floyd after he resisted arrest. He was arrested after a complaint that he attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby food store.
Chauvin and former Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao, who were also involved in Floyd’s arrest, were fired and charged in the case. Lane, Keung and Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.