Judge in George Floyd case throws out third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

Judge in George Floyd case throws out third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

The Hennepin County judge presiding over the George Floyd case has thrown out one of the main charges levied against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

On Thursday, the judge dismissed the charge of third-degree murder against the officer, who was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck in footage that went viral in the summer.

The other charges against Chauvin, including unintentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter remain. ABC7 Eyewitness News reports that the state has five days to appeal the dismissal.

Chauvin’s defense previously asked a judge to dismiss all charges against him, arguing that there was not sufficient evidence to convict him or his fellow officers.

Under Attorney General Keith Ellison, prosecutors maintain that Floyd was vulnerable when he was handcuffed with his chest pressed against the ground, which they argue led to his death. 

Should Chauvin be found guilty and sentenced under the remaining charges against him, the former police officer faces a presumptive sentence of 12.5 years for second-degree murder, up to a maximum of 15. For second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin faces up to four years in prison.

The other former police officers in the Floyd case, J. Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, are still charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. The judge who dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin refused to grant the defense’s motion to dismiss the charges against the other officers.

Should the charges remain, all four officers are expected to be tried in March.