The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to reconsider a state appellate court decision that said a third-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd had been improperly dismissed.
Derek Chauvin is already facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the trial, had earlier dismissed an additional third-degree murder charge.
Cahill will now be tasked with determining the fate of the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin. At the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, Cahill said he would address the situation the next morning.
“It appears that the Supreme Court has denied review of the defendant’s petition for review of the court of appeals opinion,” Cahill said in court on Wednesday. “I think we can talk about this tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. on its effect. I think we still have the jurisdictional issue with the Court of Appeals.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith EllisonJury selection begins in Derek Chauvin trial in Floyd’s death Jury selection delayed in Derek Chauvin murder trial Appeals court orders judge to reconsider third-degree murder charge in Floyd case MORE, whose office is prosecuting the high-profile case, commended the court’s decision, calling the third-degree murder charge “fair and appropriate.”
“The Supreme Court was right to decline Mr. Chauvin’s petition for review,” Ellison said in a statement. “The Court of Appeals ruled correctly; therefore, there was no need for the Supreme Court to intervene. We believe the charge of 3rd-degree murder is fair and appropriate.”
He continued, “we look forward to putting it before the jury, along with charges of 2nd-degree unintentional murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter.”
The news came after a Minnesota appeals court on Friday overturned a lower court ruling and cleared the way for Ellison to reinstitute the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin. Following the court’s decision, Chauvin’s lawyers filed a petition to challenge the decision.
The Supreme Court’s decision came at the end of the second day of jury selection for the Chauvin trial. Thus far, five jurors have been seated: three white men, a woman of color, and a black man, according to NBC News. The actual trial is scheduled to begin on March 29.
Chauvin is the officer who is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes in the viral May 2020 video.