Judge drops third-degree murder charge against former MPD officer Derek Chauvin, upholds other charges

Hennepin County Jail/MGN (l-r) Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill dropped third-degree murder charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday, but denied the defense’s motion to dismiss second-degree murder and manslaughter charges against him.

The judge also denied motions to dismiss aiding and abetting charges against the three other officers involved, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, in the May 25 killing of George Floyd.

Chauvin was released from Oak Park Heights prison on Oct. 7 after posting a $1 million bond. He and the other former officers are awaiting a March 2021 trial.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the lead prosecutor on the case, called the court’s ruling a “positive step forward in the path to justice,” as only one of the nine charges against the former officers was dropped.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the Floyd family in civil matters, also appeared undaunted by the dismissal of the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin.

Due to the latest developments in the case, on Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard to assist local law enforcement with public safety concerns at the request of the City of Minneapolis.

“We’ve taken the precautionary step of asking the Minnesota National Guard to prepare to help ensure safety for Minnesotans,” said Governor Walz. “I want to remind Minnesotans that today’s ruling marks a positive step in the path toward justice for George Floyd.”