The third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer responsible for the death of George Floyd, has been dropped, while the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter have been upheld. A Minnesota judge announced the decision on Thursday, October 22, as the George Floyd murder trial will proceed for Chauvin and the other three officers involved in his death.
The state has the opportunity to appeal the dismissal of the third-degree murder charge over the next five days. Furthermore, the court ruled to uphold the charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder against officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng.
"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," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. "This means that all four defendants will stand trial for murder and manslaughter, both in the second degree. 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."
Lane, Thao, and Kueng have asked for separate trials, although it remains to be seen if the motion will be granted. The trials are scheduled to resume in March.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz responded to today's ruling by calling it an "important step toward justice for George Floyd."
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd's family, stated, "We are gratified that the court preserved eight of the nine charges against Derek Chauvin, including the more serious second-degree murder charge for which we expect a conviction, based on the clear and evident use of excessive force that we all saw on video."
"We will continue to fight for justice in the civil courts and will advocate both for justice in the criminal system and for meaningful police reforms. The family of George Floyd has confidence that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will make sure that the officers are held accountable to the full extent of the law based on the evidence that we witnessed on that video tape," he concluded.