George Floyd death: Police officer Derek Chauvin to appear in court two weeks after killing

Ex-Minneapolis cop will attend court for first time on Monday, as mourners gather at final George Floyd memorial service in Houston

Gino Spocchia
Monday 08 June 2020 13:56
Minnesota attorney general believes court will 'do the right thing' in case against Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd death

Two weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody sparked worldwide protests against systemic racism, the man charged with his murder, Derek Chauvin, will appear in court.

Chauvin is expected to make a virtual appearance on Monday afternoon before judges at Hennepin County Court in Minneapolis, who have charged the ex-cop with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The 44-year-old's face has now become synonymous with both institutionalised racism and excessive policing in the US, after he was videoed pinning George Floyd to the ground for almost 9 minutes whilst the unarmed black man pleaded “I can’t breathe”, and later died.

Minnesota’s attorney general Keith Ellison announced on Wednesday that he had elevated the charges against Chauvin, who was earlier charged with third-degree murder.

Three other US states, including Minnesota, use the third degree murder charge which carries a 25 year prison sentence.

Chauvin could, however, be imprisoned for up to 40 years with a conviction for second degree murder, the more serious crime, or 10 years in prison under second degree manslaughter.

“These cases are not easy. It’s important for people to understand that,” said the state attorney, Keith Ellison, to Local 4 News. “We look at the video and we (think), ‘it couldn’t be more clear, what’s the problem?’”

“Well, the problem is [that] it’s a complicated set of features of our system,” added Mr Ellison on Sunday. “Which, I think, up until now, have led to the under-prosecution of excessive force of our police.”

He issued arrest warrants on Wednesday for Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, the three other former Minneapolis police officers who were alongside Chauvin during Mr Floyd’s arrest, and suffocation.

They are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin’s court appearance also comes as mourners attend the third and final memorial for George Floyd on Monday, held in his home city, Houston.

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