A Hennepin County judge has dismissed a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, one of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the May 25 death of George Floyd.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the ruling made by District Judge Peter Cahill was dated for Wednesday and announced publicly on Thursday. The good news is that Chauvin—who was released on $1 million bond earlier this month—will still face second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Cahill ruled that those charges can still be prosecuted because probable cause was found to be sufficient in sustaining them.
Cahill also denied motions to dismiss the second-degree aiding and abetting charges against the other three now-former Minneapolis police officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao. Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, announced plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges against his client in June when Lane was released on bail.
“In this court’s view, with one exception, the State has met its burden of showing probable cause that warrants proceeding to trial against each of these Defendants on each of the criminal charges the State has filed against them,” Cahill wrote in his ruling, AJC reports.
According to CNN, Cahill explained why the third-degree murder charge was dropped in his ruling, saying that the charge can “be sustained only in situations in which the defendant’s actions were eminently dangerous to other persons and were not specifically directed at the particular person whose death occurred.” He ruled that the state’s presented evidence does not show that Chauvin’s actions were “eminently dangerous” to anyone but Floyd.
Lead prosecutor and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison doesn’t appear to be too worried about the third-degree charge being dismissed. He said Cahill’s overall ruling is a “positive step forward in the path toward justice for George Floyd, his family, our community, and Minnesota,” CNN reports.
“The court has sustained eight out of nine charges against the defendants in the murder of George Floyd, including the most serious charges against all four defendants,” Ellison said. “We look forward to presenting the prosecution’s case to a jury in Hennepin County.”