A judge has dismissed a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, one of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd.
Judge Peter Cahill also ruled Chauvin’s second-degree murder and manslaughter charges will remain.
Cahill also ruled against dismissing the aiding and abetting charges against the other three fired Minneapolis police officers allegedly involved in Floyd’s death: Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane.
Floyd died while in police custody on Memorial Day, an incident which set off massive racial and social justice protests around the nation. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter four days after Floyd’s death. The charge was upgraded to second-degree murder at the same time Attorney General Keith Ellison announced charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death.
Earlier this month, 51 people were arrested during protests after Chauvin was released on bail. He had been in custody in a state prison, instead of a local jail, as he awaited his March trial.
Minneapolis police tried to arrest Floyd on May 25 for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. Floyd died after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after the handcuffed Black man pleaded for air.
Family attorneys for Floyd said their second, independent autopsy show he died from asphyxia.
The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer. That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
Floyd’s initial autopsy said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. It revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death.
There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller describes the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”
After Floyd apparently stopped breathing, Lane again said he wanted to roll Floyd onto his side. Kueng checked for a pulse and said he could not find one, according to the complaint.