George Floyd and the history of police brutality in America - The Boston Globe


Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ON Oct 24 Thursday dismissed a third-degree murder charge against Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.

The Minnesota judge denied the motion to dismiss the second-degree murder and murder counts against him and three other officers for aiding and abetting. The defense advanced the theory that Chauvin’s act of pinning his knee against Floyd’s neck was not the sole cause of death and instead alleged that Floyd’s fentanyl drug use was the most likely cause. Judge Cahill rejected this theory and found that the drug use was not a superseding cause because “the independent action must actually intervene to break the causal chain, must occur ‘after the defendant’s acts,’ and must be the ‘sole cause’ of death.”

The court ultimately found probable cause and that Chauvin “grossly deviated from the standard of care a reasonable officer would observe, and consciously disregarded the risk of death to Floyd.” In addition to Chauvin, the court also denied dismissals for the three other police officers involved, Tou Thao, Thomas Kiernan Lane, and J. Alexander Keung for aiding and abetting in Chauvin’s alleged criminal acts.

Despite these rapidly evolving and changing circumstances in Floyd, Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane did not react by doing anything differently. Chauvin kept pressing his knee forcefully into the back of Floyd’s neck, and the jury might reasonably assess from the BWC videos that he kept applying roughly the same amount of pressure throughout, until he finally stood up and got off Floyd’s neck at 8:28:42 when the EMTs had the stretcher set up and ready to receive Floyd. Although Kueng and Lane may have relaxed the pressure of their holds over this period – after all, Floyd had ceased to move halfway through, and it no longer required any effort to keep his midsection and legs stationary – they also remained in their same positions, and took no affirmative, assertive actions to persuade Chauvin to terminate the neck restraint, to roll Floyd onto his side in what they knew from their training was the recovery position, to begin administering CPR to Floyd or at the very minimum to walk away and stop associating themselves with Chauvin’s conduct. The State has, in this Court’s view, presented evidence upon which a jury might reasonably find that Chauvin grossly deviated from the standard of care a reasonable officer would observe, and consciously disregarded the risk of death to Floyd. Because a jury might also reasonably conclude that Kueng knew or, in any event, should have known from an objective standpoint, that and that his presence at the scene and his own actions allowed Chauvin to continue, there is probable cause to believe that Kueng aided and abetted second degree manslaughter. ”

All four officers, including Chauvin, will now face trial in March.

See the order