George Floyd death: Appeals court orders judge to rethink 3rd-degree murder charge for Derek Chauvin

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March 5 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Friday ordered a lower court to reconsider reinstating third-degree murder charges for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd.

The court said Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill improperly refused prosecutors' motion to add the additional charge, citing precedence from an unrelated case in February.

Cahill dropped the third-degree murder charge in October, saying the language of the law says the crime must involve danger to more than one person.

"The district court has discretion to consider any additional arguments Chauvin might raise in opposition to the state's motion," the appeals court's opinion read. "But the district court's decision must be consistent with this opinion.

The appeals court ordered Cahill to reconsider prosecutors' motion.

Chauvin' trial for second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter is scheduled to begin Monday. He posted a $1 million bond in October and left prison to await trial.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired and arrested Chauvin after he was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes on May 25. Floyd died after repeatedly calling for help, saying he couldn't breathe.

Chauvin's attorneys said officers were following protocol when they arrested and subdued Floyd. He was arrested on allegations he attempted to use a counterfeit $20 at a nearby food store. Police said he struggled during arrest, leading Chauvin to handcuff him face-down and kneel on his neck.

Fellow Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao, who were involved in the arrest, were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

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