The Minnesota Court of Appeals Monday upheld the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd during a 2020 arrest. In doing so, the court denied Chauvin’s request for a new trial or reversal of his conviction.
In the decision, the court rendered holdings on twelve issues and concluded that the Hennepin County District Court did not abuse its discretion in any of the ways Chauvin alleged. The court explained:
When a criminal defendant moves to change venue, continue trial, or sequester the jury alleging that publicity surrounding the trial created actual or presumed juror prejudice, 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 an impartial verdict.
In response to Chauvin’s argument that on-duty law enforcement officers are authorized to use force when arresting resisting suspects and thus cannot be convicted of second-degree unintentional felony murder, the court held that “a police officer can be convicted of second-degree unintentional felony murder for causing the death of another by using unreasonable force constituting third-degree assault to effect a lawful arrest.” It reasoned that, while the law allows police officers to use reasonable amounts of force, “Chauvin crossed that line when he used unreasonable force on Floyd.”
Further, the court concluded that Chauvin is not entitled to a new trial, because the alleged errors did not deny him a fair trial. Ultimately, the court affirmed the district court’s conviction of Chauvin.
For the counts of unintentional second-degree felony murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter against him, Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. Chauvin was also sentenced to 21 years in prison for federal civil rights violations.
Monday’s decision comes just weeks after Minneapolis agreed to revamp the city’s police department.