United States
International 05/05/2021

Ex-police officer convicted of George Floyd murder asks for retrial

The defense alleges the jurors were under pressure

2 min
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, led out of the courtroom Tuesday after the verdict was read.

BarcelonaDerek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has asked the courts for a retrial. His lawyers argue that he has been denied his right to a fair trial and that there have been procedural errors.

The motion filed by his lawyer, Eric Nelson, argues that the judge committed "an abuse of discretion that deprived the defendant of a fair trial", accuses the prosecutor of "misconduct", and says the verdict is "contrary to law." Among other things he argues that "the publicity was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during the trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the process".

Media pressure

The lawyer reproaches the judge for not having asked the 12 members of the jury, who unanimously convicted the ex-policeman, to avoid media pressure. The ex-policeman's defense claims that the jury was under intimidation. Although the brief does not mention it, in recent weeks it has been known that one of the jurors participated in a demonstration in Washington in homage to Martin Luther King. The judge did not rule it out on the grounds that the protest was in remembrance of the 1963 march organized by the anti-apartheid leader and not a protest over the Floyd case.

Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 40 years in prison, third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the second degree, for pinning Floyd down by squeezing his neck with his knee for more than nine minutes while the 46-year-old victim warned him that he could not breathe and many pedestrians berated him. The whole ordeal was captured in several videos that went around the world. The trial heard 45 witnesses, including police, pedestrians and forensic experts, and the defence argued that the African-American had died from a heart condition and drug use. Sentencing is due to be announced on 16 June.

Most African-American deaths at the hands of police in the United States have gone unpunished and this case is considered a milestone in the fight against police racism, after the wave of protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement. The petition for review of a conviction is a routine procedure.