The Minnesota Court of Appeals has moved to uphold the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the 2020 killing of George Floyd.
Chauvin's lawyers asked the court to throw out his conviction due to a long list of reasons including pretrial publicity. His legal team also argued that the judge in his state trial made multiple errors and abused his discretion, leaving Chauvin without a fair trial.
The ex-officer was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for fatally kneeling on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes during an arrest on May 25, 2020. Video of the arrest garnered national attention and prompted widespread protests against police brutality.
In an April 2022 court filing, Chauvin's lawyer, William Mohrman, argued that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill should've agreed to move the former officer's trial outside of Minneapolis and sequester the jury due to pretrial publicity.
However, the appeals court disagreed, writing in their 50-page opinion: "A district court does not abuse its discretion by denying the motions if it takes sufficient mitigating steps and verifies that the jurors can set aside their impressions or opinions and deliver a fair and impartial verdict."
In his appeal, Chauvin also argued that an on-duty police officer can't face this conviction because they are authorized to use force on a resisting suspect.
Judge Peter Reyes of the appeals court wrote otherwise.
"The law only permits police officers to use reasonable force when effecting a lawful arrest," Reyes wrote in the opinion. "Chauvin crossed that line here when he used unreasonable force on Floyd."