by Scott McClallen
A Hennepin County District Court Judge on Wednesday night chose to sustain eight of the nine total charges against the four defendants in the death of George Floyd while he was in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
In a 107-page ruling, Judge Peter A. Cahill dropped Derek Chauvin’s third-degree murder charge, but sustained second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against the former Minneapolis police officer.
The state has five days to appeal.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison applauded the decision.
“The court has sustained eight out of nine charges against the defendants in the murder of George Floyd, including the most serious charges against all four defendants. This means that all four defendants will stand trial for murder and manslaughter, both in the second degree,” Ellison said in a statement.
“This is an important, positive step forward in the path toward justice for George Floyd, his family, our community, and Minnesota. We look forward to presenting the prosecution’s case to a jury in Hennepin County.”
Ellison explained the dismissal of the lesser charge was based on statute interpretation.
“The court’s decision to dismiss just one of the lesser charges against just one of the defendants – while leaving intact all the charges against the other three defendants – is based on how appellate courts have interpreted the statute in question,” Ellison said. “We are considering our options in light of the court’s strong order on the remaining charges.”
Cahill denied a motion to dismiss the charges for the three other former police officers, J. Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao.
Cahill sustained the following charges against the following defendants:
- Kueng: Aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter
- Lane: Aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter
- Thao: Aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter
The four former officers were fired after the May 25 death of Floyd, and a widely watched video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.
In a tweet this morning, Gov. Tim Walz called the ruling an “Important step toward justice for George Floyd.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.