The former Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd has filed an appeal, claiming that the jury was intimidated by ongoing protests and prejudiced by excessive pre-trial publicity, among other things.
This week, Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, also laid out a number of challenges to his conviction, including the contention that the trial should not have taken place in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where Floyd was murdered.
In a court filing earlier this week, Derek Chauvin’s lawyers asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to reverse his conviction, reverse the decision and order a new trial in a new venue, or order a resentencing.
Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder for the death of Floyd by a Minneapolis jury last year, was sentenced to 22½ years in prison by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.
The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 sparked nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and anti-Black racism.
Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground for 9 minutes and 29 seconds with a knee on his neck.
As a result, the 46-year-old kept pleading that he couldn’t breathe. His crime was passing a forged $20 bill at a convenience store.
George Floyd was unarmed throughout the duration of his arrest.
Three other fired officers are scheduled to stand trial in state court this summer after being found guilty in federal court earlier this year of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Several potential jurors expressed concerns during jury selection that if Chauvin was acquitted, they would fear for their personal safety and be concerned about further violence, according to Mohrman.
He claimed that several of them were intimidated by the security measures put in place at the court to protect trial participants from protesters.
During Chauvin’s trial, a police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright in nearby Brooklyn Center, according to the filing.
It claimed that jurors should have been sequestered after selection to avoid being swayed by reports of the murder.
It also cited a $27 million settlement reached between the city and Floyd’s family, which was announced during jury selection, claiming that the timing of the announcement prejudiced jurors in the case.
Mohrman cited several instances of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, including the government’s failure to share evidence on time, failure to disclose, and document dumping.
Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota has 45 days to respond to Chauvin’s brief.
The appeal was made as the Minnesota Department of Human Rights released the findings of a nearly two-year investigation launched in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.
It discovered that the Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination for at least a decade, including stopping and arresting black people at a higher rate than white people, using force on blacks more frequently, and maintaining a culture in which racist language is tolerated.