A Minneapolis judge on Thursday granted prosecutors’ request to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, The Associated Press reports. Chauvin’s trial was at risk for a possible months-long delay if Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill hadn’t ruled in favor of the prosecution.
In addition to this new charge, Chauvin is facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges for the death of Floyd. Legal experts say Cahill’s ruling gives jurors another option for conviction in the case against the former police officer.
On May 25, 2020, Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20-dollar bill at a Minneapolis convenience store. After Floyd was handcuffed and detained, Chauvin held his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for almost nine minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s last words became a rallying cry during global protests against police brutality and systemic racism. His death symbolized the need for police reform.
Jury selection has now resumed in Chauvin’s trial following today’s ruling. It was previously delayed while Cahill considered whether or not to reinstate the third-degree murder charge. So far, a sixth person has been chosen to serve on the jury, which now includes five men and one woman, according to the AP. The court has not yet disclosed the race of any of the jurors, and there is no word on when that may happen. The court has allotted at least three weeks for the 12 jurors plus two alternates to be selected.
Chauvin’s trial is slated to begin at the end of this month. The trial for the remaining three officers involved in Floyd’s death is expected to begin in August.