Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, is seeking to get the murder charges against him dismissed. Citing the first autopsy report of Floyd issued by the state of Minnesota (which has been disputed by a second, independent autopsy requested by Floyd's family), Chauvin claims Floyd died of fentanyl in his system and pre-existing conditions, not because of the knee Chauvin held on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
On Friday (August 28), an attorney for Chauvin filed a motion in court that argued there was no probable cause to support the second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against his client.
"Put simply, Mr. Floyd could not breathe because he had ingested a lethal dose of fentanyl," the filing said, according to the Wall Street Journal. The filing also cited that Floyd's alleged sickle cell condition and heart disease contributed to his death, which was horrifically captured on video. Footage taken by witnesses showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd was pleading "I can't breathe!" Floyd eventually lost consciousness and was transported to a local hospital before he was pronounced dead.
Attorneys for Chauvin state in the filing that the Minneapolis cop, who has a record of using excessive force, did not realize that Floyd couldn't breathe, despite the 56-year-old's multiple desperate pleas.
"What Mr. Chauvin saw was a strong man struggling mightily with police officers, which seemed contradictory to Mr. Floyd’s claims about not being able to breathe," the filing says. "Mr. Chauvin could not have known about Mr. Floyd’s underlying issues when he arrived on the scene."
The initial toxicology report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Floyd had 11 nanograms of fentanyl in his blood at the time of his death. But a second autopsy, commissioned by the Floyd family and conducted by an independent toxicologist, said that he died from mechanical asphyxiation due to Chauvin kneeling on his airway.
In June, Chauvin was charged with first degree murder, while the three other officers involved in Floyd's death — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Kiernan and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. All three, besides Chauvin, are currently out on bond.
All four officers were fired from their positions at the Minneapolis Police Department.
The trial for all four men is currently scheduled for March 2021. It's not yet determined if all four will be tried together, or separately.
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