A lawyer for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally knelt on George Floyd's neck, is set to ask an appeals court to throw out his client's convictions for the 2020 killing, alleging that he didn't receive a fair trial.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned his knee on the 46-year-old Black man's neck for 9 1/2 minutes as he pleaded "I can't breathe." Floyd's death sparked protests around the world and a nationwide racial reckoning.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on state charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The ex-Minneapolis officer also pleaded guilty to violating Floyd's civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison, which he is now serving in Arizona concurrently with his state sentence.
Through his plea deal, Chauvin waived his right to appeal his federal sentence, but he is still able to appeal his murder convictions in state court.
In his brief to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Chauvin's attorney, William Mohrman, argued that the judge should have moved his client's trial elsewhere due to extensive pretrial publicity, per the Associated Press. Mohrman alleged that the publicity, protests, the city's $27 million settlement with Floyd's family, and the unprecedented courthouse security were some of the factors that hindered Chauvin from receiving a fair trial.
The attorney also wrote in his brief that the judge improperly excluded evidence that was favorable to Chauvin among a number of other accusations.
However, prosecutors say Chauvin received a fair trial and a just sentence. In their brief, prosecutors wrote that pretrial publicity extended across the state, so a location change for the trial would've been pointless. They also argued that the judge took extensive steps to ensure jurors were impartial and shielded from outside influences.
The three other officers convicted in Floyd's killing, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, are currently serving their federal sentences in out-of-state prisons.
Lane and Kueng accepted plea deals from state prosecutors for aiding and abetting manslaughter and are serving concurrent sentences. Thao declined to plead guilty.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.