Derek Chauvin appeals murder conviction for killing George Floyd
An ex-cop in Minneapolis is appealing his conviction of murder in the shooting death of George Floyd ,. He argues that jurors were intimidated and prejudiced by pre-trial publicity. Chauvin requested the Minnesota Court of Appeals in a Monday court filing to reverse his conviction, reverse and remand for a fresh trial in a different venue, or order a resentencing.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned the Black man to the ground with his knee on his neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds. Floyd had been accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. Three other fired officers face state trial this summer after being convicted in federal court earlier this year of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, laid out a number of challenges to his conviction, including that the trial should not have been held in Hennepin County, where Floyd was killed.
” The overwhelming media coverage exposed jurors — literally daily — to news demonizing Chauvin, glorifying Floyd, which was more than enough to presume prejudice,” the brief stated.
In the months that followed Floyd’s killing, protesters took to the streets in Minneapolis and around the country to protest police brutality and racism. Some of this unrest was violent.
Mohrman stated that several potential jurors expressed concern during jury selection about whether Chauvin would be acquitted. They feared for their safety and were concerned about the possibility of more violence. He claimed that several of them felt intimidated by security measures at the courthouse to keep protesters away from the trial participants.
The filing also cited the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center that sparked more protests during Chauvin’s trial. To avoid prejudice from reports of the slaying, it states that jurors should have been kept apart after selection. It also cited a $27 million settlement reached between the city and Floyd’s family that was announced during jury selection, saying the timing of that prejudiced jurors in the case.
Mohrman cited several instances of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, claiming untimely sharing of evidence, failure to disclose and document dumping by the government.
The filing also claims that the judge did not follow the sentencing guidelines properly and should not have included “abuse in a position of authority” as an aggravating factor in the sentencing.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has 45 days to respond to Chauvin’s brief. The appeal was made as the Minnesota Department of Human Rights released nearly two years of investigation into Floyd’s death. It found the Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a pattern of race discrimination for at least a decade, including stopping and arresting Black people at a higher rate than white people, using force more often on people of color and maintaining a culture where racist language is tolerated.
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