Judge reinstates third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin in death of George Floyd

Kuzma/iStockBy BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News

(MINNEAPOLIS) — The judge presiding over the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd has reinstated a third-degree murder charge in the case after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled the application of the count in another civilian death involving a Minneapolis police officer established precedent.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who dismissed the third-degree murder charge in October, granted the motion by prosecutors to reinstate the charge after hearing arguments from both sides of the case.

Cahill’s decision hedged on a recent appellate court decision upholding a third-degree murder conviction against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond after she called 911 to report an assault in progress near her home.

“With regard to the state’s motion to reinstate, the court is going to grant the motion,” Cahill said before the third day of jury deliberations began.

Cahill said that he initially disagreed with the appellate court’s decision in the Noor case.

“I denied the motion initially because of my disagreement, but not without first checking to see if I was duty-bound to follow it as precedent,” Cahill said. “Now, based on the defendant’s appeal, the Court of Appeals has made it very clear, yes I was bound from the moment the appeal was filed. And I accept that.”

Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who represent the Floyd family, applauded Cahill’s decision.

“We’re gratified that the judge cleared the way for the trial to proceed and for Chauvin to face this additional charge,” Crump and Romanucci said in a statement. “The trial is very painful and the family needs closure. We’re pleased that all judicial avenues are being explored and that the trial will move forward.”

Chauvin, 44, is already charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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