Derek Chauvin files appeal to overturn conviction in George Floyd murder

Venue and publicity around April 2020 trial were also criticised

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 27 April 2022 14:25

Related video: ‘Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge,’ prosecutor says

Derek Chauvin has submitted an appeal to overturn his April 2021 conviction for murdering George Floyd, court documents show.

His lawyers submitted the appeal with Minnesota’s Court of Appeals on Monday asking to either overturn the conviction, order a retrial in another venue, or reduce his sentence because of alleged “misconduct”.

"The overwhelming media coverage exposed the jurors - literally every day - to news demonising Chauvin and glorifying Floyd, which was more than sufficient to presume prejudice," the lawyers wrote alleged.

The lengthy document also outlined a number of alleged instances of prosecutor misconduct and said Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was not fairly tried because he could not review evidence.

That apparently included “approximately 75 per cent of pdf documents [that] were not computer searchable” , which forced his attorney Eric Nelson to “go through a time consuming process of converting and reconverting files to make them searchable,” the document said.

The original trial proceedings in April 2021 were also labelled as being "so pervaded by error, misconduct and prejudice that they were structurally defective”.

The Minneapolis court was also criticised for allegedly representing an “extreme” threat of violence to Chauvin - despite it being patrolled by the National Guard and fences.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin

The former police officer was found guilty by a jury of murdering Floyd in 2020 last year and was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison in June 2021 for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The conviction was above Minnesota’s sentencing guideline range of 10 years and eight months to 15 years, but as CNN reported on Wednesday, the sentence was described as appropriate in the circumstances.

Judge Peter Cahell wrote that Chauvin “abused his position of trust and authority” and treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings” before his death.

A video widely shared in the aftermath of the May 2020 arrest of Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, appeared to show Chauvin kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd cried out “I can’t breathe”.

The phrase became a slogan for protests sparked in the aftermath of his death, which came along with worldwide outrage and demonstrations against police brutality and racism, as well as calls for police reform.

Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Attorney General who prosecuted Chauvin, has not commented publicly on the appeal by Chauvin.

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