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Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd after kneeling on his back and neck for more than nine minutes, has asked for his conviction to be overturned.
Hennepin county judge Peter Cahill agreed with prosecutors that Chauvin should face harsher sentencing because he ‘abused his position of trust and authority’.
Cahill also wrote in a 22-page sentencing memorandum released by the court that Chauvin treated Floyd ‘without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings’.
Floyd died on 25 May 2020 and his murder sparked racial justice protests around the world.
Now, in an appeal filed on Monday, 25 April, Chauvin’s attorney argued certain aspects of the former officer’s trial ‘tainted proceedings, rendering them structurally defective’, CNN reports.
Attorney William F. Mohrman said in the 82-page-filing that factors including pretrial publicity and protests held outside the courthouse blighted the case.
Mohrman also pointed to the city’s $27 million settlement to Floyd's family and accused state attorneys of inadequately preparing prosecution witnesses and failing to properly disclose certain information.
Chauvin and Mohrman’s appeal calls for the conviction to be overturned, and failing that, for a new trial to be ordered by the court in a different venue.
They also claim Chauvin’s constitutional right to a fair trial was denied and ask that if his conviction still stands, it should be reduced in line with the state's sentencing guidelines.
During last year’s trial, prosecutors said that Chauvin had squeezed the life out of Floyd by pinning his knee against his neck, and that he 'had to know' he was dying.
Chauvin's defence had tried to claim that he had acted reasonably during the arrest.
It follows confirmation from judge Cahill this week that the trial of the three officers charged with aiding Floyd’s killing won’t be livestreamed; Cahill cited Covid-19 as the reason Chauvin’s was. However, because the pandemic has now slowed, he won’t overrule the requests of officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng not to be filmed.
Opening statements for their trial will begin on 5 July and Cahill expects proceedings to last for up to five weeks.
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Featured Image Credit: Minnesota Department of Corrections/Ruth Richardson/Twitter
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