Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill has dismissed the third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, according to court documents posted online. Chauvin, who was released from custody this month on $1 million bond, still faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. In his judgement, Cahill ordered the third-degree murder charge to be dropped because the state would need to prove that Chauvin put “others” in danger with his actions, whereas he only put Floyd’s life in danger when he knelt on the 46-year-old’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter against the other officers involved—Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng—have been upheld. The dismissal of the third-degree murder charge will be stayed by the court for five days to allow the state prosecution to appeal. A March 8, 2021, trial date has been set.
Floyd was killed in police custody on May 25 over a counterfeit $20 bill he allegedly used at a convenience store. His death sparked protests against racial injustice in all 50 states and around the world.