The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to review the case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Chauvin’s defense had previously raised concerns that excessive pretrial publicity and widespread civil unrest influenced the jury’s decision, asserting fears of potential violence should Chauvin be acquitted.
Chauvin’s lawyer highlighted that the extraordinary security measures, including barbed wire and National Guard presence during the trial, underscored the jurors’ safety concerns. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court’s refusal to consider the appeal maintains Chauvin’s conviction intact, leaving him to serve his 22.5-year sentence handed down after convictions on multiple charges, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The incident that led to Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, ignited protests and riots across the United States and beyond, as Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for an extended period. Floyd’s pleas for air went unanswered in an event that has had lasting social and political repercussions.
Recently, Chauvin sought to challenge his civil rights conviction in a separate legal move, alleging that newly discovered theories from a Kansas pathologist might have influenced the outcome of his plea. This pathologist, according to Chauvin, suggests that a rare tumor may have caused a sudden adrenaline rush leading to Floyd’s death, rather than the actions taken by Chauvin.
This motion seeks either a retrial or a hearing to present the purported new evidence, with Chauvin arguing that the jury’s verdict might have differed had this information been available. It should be noted that the pathologist did not conduct a physical examination of Floyd but instead reviewed autopsy reports.
The killing of George Floyd was a catalyst for nationwide and international demonstrations, some of which escalated into violent confrontations, resulting in significant damage to property and raising intense scrutiny of police practices.