Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is appealing his murder conviction in the killing of George Floyd, arguing that jurors were intimidated by the protests that followed and harmed by heavy pre-trial publicity. Chauvin asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals in a court filing Monday to reverse his conviction, reverse and remand for a new trial at a new location or order a new sentence.
Last June, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahillafter juries second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned the black man to the ground with his knee to his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Floyd had been accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.after being convicted in federal court earlier this year of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, raised a number of challenges to his conviction, including that the trial should not have been held in Hennepin County, where Floyd was killed.
“Overwhelming media coverage exposed jurors, literally every day, to news that demonized Chauvin and glorified Floyd, which was more than enough to presume bias,” the brief said.
In the months that followed Floyd’s murder, protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis and across the country.. Some of those riots were violent.
Mohrman said several potential jurors expressed concern during jury selection that if Chauvin were acquitted, they would fear for his personal safety and would be worried about more violence. He said several of them said they were intimidated by security measures put in place at the courthouse to protect trial participants from protesters.
The presentation also citesby a police officer at the nearby Brooklyn Center that sparked further protests during Chauvin’s trial. He says the jurors should have been sequestered after selection to avoid bias from reports of that murder. He also cited a $27 million settlement reached between the city and Floyd’s family that was announced during jury selection, saying that the timing was biased by jurors in the case.
Mohrman cited several instances of alleged misconduct by prosecutors, alleging improper sharing of evidence, failure to disclose, and government dumping of documents.
The filing also says the judge did not apply the sentencing guidelines correctly and should not have included “abuse of a position of authority” as an aggravating sentencing factor for the former police officer.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has 45 days to respond to Chauvin’s brief.
The appeal came as the Minnesota Department of Human Rights released the results of a nearly two-year investigation launched after Floyd’s murder. Found the Minneapolis Police Departmentincluding arresting and arresting black people at a higher rate than white people, using force more frequently against people of color, and maintaining a culture in which racist language is tolerated.