Prosecutors seek to charge all 4 officers with third-degree murder in Floyd's death

A recent appeals court ruling upheld the same charge against former MPD officer Noor, which the state says sets a precedent for the Floyd case.
Publish date:
Lane kueng thao chauvin

Prosecutors are seeking to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, as well as charge the other officers with the same crime.

The prosecution filed a motion Thursday asking Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin or to file an amended complaint that includes the charge, citing a new precedent set by the Minnesota Court of Appeals earlier in the week. 

The motion also seeks to add the third-degree murder charge against the other former officers – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – charged in Floyd's death. 

Chauvin in June 2020 was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection to Floyd's death, while the other officers were each charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. 

However, in October, Cahill granted a motion from Chauvin's attorney to dismiss the third-degree murder charge against him, while denying motions to dismiss the other, more serious, charges.

In the order, Cahill said this case isn't appropriate for a third-degree murder charge because the state's evidence did not indicate Chauvin's actions were eminently dangerous to anyone other than Floyd and his actions were specifically directed at a particular person. 

Following Cahill's October decision, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said the court's decision was "based on how appellate courts have interpreted the statute in question." 

On Monday, the appeals court upheld a third-degree murder conviction of former MPD officer Mohamed Noor in the July 2017 death of Justine Damond.

This sets a new precedent that provides the court "with clear guidance regarding the elements of third-degree murder," Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank wrote in Thursday's motion.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals in the Noor case ruled that a conviction of third-degree murder under state law "may be sustained even if the death-causing act was directed at a single person" and if the act "endangered only one person," the motion states.

Because of this, Frank argues that Chauvin's third-degree murder charge should be reinstated or the court should allow prosecutors to amend the complaint against him to include the charge. 

Frank also says the court should allow prosecutors to amend the charges against Kueng, Lane and Thao to include third-degree murder. 

In the motion, Frank also mentions that the state still believes Chauvin's trial, which is slated to begin March 8, should be delayed until summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial of the other three officers is scheduled to begin in August. 

The Pioneer Press spoke with Lane's attorney, who said it's too soon for the Noor case to be considered precedent. 

Meanwhile, the paper notes Noor's attorney plans to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the appeals court decision, so that ruling may not be final. The state's highest court can decline to consider Noor's appeal, however. 

Next Up

Mats Zuccarello

Wild dominate Coyotes with 3-goal first period

The Wild rebounded after getting swept in Vegas.

Guy Fieri

MN brewpub to make 2nd appearance on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'

In other words, Guy Fieri is returning to the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud teen charged with raping girl in high school bathroom

Police say it happened during a late 2019 basketball game.


Reports: 'Miracle on Ice' star Mark Pavelich found dead at treatment facility

The 63-year-old had been ordered to undergo psychiatric care.

hennepin county government center fencing minneapolis chauvin

Minneapolis, Hennepin County spending $1M on barricades, fencing for Chauvin trial

Minneapolis hopes to be reimbursed for fortification costs by the state if it passes the proposed SAFE Account.

police lights

Police: 3 Minnesotans made fake report to divert SD police away drug investigation

Three people from Detroit Lakes are facing charges, with two of the men involved accused of making a false report of gunmen entering a local business.

Drive-up vaccine

HealthPartners opens drive-up COVID vaccine site

The healthcare provider says it's the first drive-up vaccination site in the state.

derek chauvin

Appeals court: Judge must reconsider third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

The appeals court's recent decision on a different officer-involved shooting case is precedent, it said.

covid-19, vaccine

New data reveals Minnesotans getting COVID vaccines are disproportionately white

The Minnesota Department of Health revealed race and ethnicity vaccine data on Friday.


Lane kueng thao chauvin

Judge denies effort to add third-degree murder charges in George Floyd case

Derek Chauvin is still charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers face aiding and abetting charges.

derek chauvin

Appeals court: Judge must reconsider third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

The appeals court's recent decision on a different officer-involved shooting case is precedent, it said.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Prosecutors appeal court's decision to split trials in George Floyd's death

Prosecutors want one trial for all four former Minneapolis police officers.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

George Floyd: Officer's attorney says 2nd-degree charges are 'bullshit'

Three of the four officers involved made their first court appearances on Thursday.

derek chauvin

Ex-officer Derek Chauvin posts bond, is released from prison months after Floyd's death

Chauvin is one of four former MPD officers charged in George Floyd's death. The others had already posted bond and were out of custody.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

What's at stake as 4 ex-cops charged in George Floyd's death appear in court

Friday's hearing will cover a variety of topics, including motions to try the men separately and to move the trial out of Hennepin County.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Chauvin will be tried separately in George Floyd's death

Chauvin's trial will begin March 8. The trial of the other former offices will begin in August.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Judge dismisses 1 charge against Chauvin, more serious charges remain

The judge denied the majority of the motions to dismiss the charges against the four officers accused in George Floyd's death.