Judge drops 3rd-degree murder charge against ex-cop in George Floyd death

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A Minnesota judge has dismissed a third-degree murder charge filed against the former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck, but the more serious second-degree murder charge remains.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill’s ruling was made public Thursday. Chauvin now faces two counts going forward: second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Cahill also denied defense requests to dismiss the aiding and abetting counts against three other former officers, Thomas Lane, J. Jueng and Tou Thao.

Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs, died May 25 after Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became motionless.

In this Sunday, June 7, 2020, photo, the sun shines above a mural honoring George Floyd in Houston’s Third Ward. Floyd, who grew up in the Third Ward, died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

All four officers were fired.

Prosecutors argued there was probable cause for the officers to go to trial on all of the charges, saying Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd, which is an element of the second-degree murder charge, and that the other officers assisted.

Defense attorneys had argued that there was not enough probable cause to charge the former officers. Chauvin’s attorney said his client had no intent to assault or kill Floyd, while attorneys for the other officers argued that their clients did not intend or conspire to help Chauvin.

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