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

An appeals court upheld former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s second-degree murder conviction for the death of George Floyd in 2020.

Chauvin was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter on April 20, 2021. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

He later pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights in December 2021. He was sentenced to another 21 years in prison, which he is serving concurrently with his state sentence.

On Monday, a panel of three judges at the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected Chauvin’s request for a new trial.

Chauvin filed an appeal shortly after his state conviction. William Mohrman, an attorney for Chauvin, argued that Judge Peter Cahill committed errors by refusing the defendant’s requests to move the trial out of Minneapolis and sequester the jury due to extensive media coverage.

‘A district court does not abuse its discretion by denying the motions if it takes sufficient mitigating steps and verifies that the jurors can set aside their impressions or opinions and deliver a fair and impartial verdict,’ Presiding Judge Peter Reyes wrote in his decision.

The appeals court found that Judge Cahill took proper precautions by sequestering potential jurors during jury selection and by banning video and audio recordings of the pre-trial proceedings.

Chauvin also argued that as a police officer he could not be convicted of the crime of unintentional murder because he was authorized to use force to arrest resisting suspectings.

The appeals court noted that Chauvin’s defense did not bring up this argument at his first trial, but also disagreed with the premise.

‘Police officers undoubtedly have a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job,’ Reyes wrote. ‘However, no one is above the law. When they commit a crime, they must be held accountable just as those individuals that they lawfully apprehend.’

He continued: ‘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.’

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