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Derek Chauvin is appealing his conviction for the murder of George Floyd : NPR


The attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin said Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill failed to provide him with a fair trial.

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Derek Chauvin is appealing his conviction for the murder of George Floyd : NPR

The attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin said Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill failed to provide him with a fair trial.

Short TV via AP/Pool

A year after being found guilty of murdering George Floyd, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filed an appeal in hopes of overturning the jury’s verdict and reducing his sentence.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin last June to 22½ years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, after being found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

Chauvin is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to do one of three things: overturn his conviction and send his case back to Hennepin County; reverse the result and order a new trial in a new place; or order that Chauvin be given a lesser sentence.

The call comes as a state investigation exposes the Minneapolis police agency

Chauvin’s legal team filed its brief with the court on Monday. Two days later, the State of Minnesota released a much-anticipated report sharply criticizing the Minneapolis Police Department for “a pattern or practice of racial discrimination in violation of Minnesota Human Rights Law.” as reported by member station Minnesota Public Radio News.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights began its investigation shortly after the death of Floyd, who was black, in May 2020. Widely circulated videos showed Chauvin, who is white, pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes.

The state investigation included a 10-year review of police policies, training and practices, as well as records related to the use of force and allegations of police misconduct. He found racial disparities in the way officers carry out their duties, as well as “consistent use by MPD officers of racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language”.

Chauvin’s legal team lists a number of grievances to request an appeal

In court documents filed this week, Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, presented a number of challenges to his sentencing, including a longstanding insistence that Cahill should have moved the trial to another location due to massive media coverage. Mohrman also said witnesses were not properly treated and jurors were intimidated by protests and security measures. And he alleges prosecutorial misconduct and other factors prevented Chauvin from getting a fair trial in the closely watched case.

Chauvin’s sentence exceeded the state’s minimum guidelines, but fell short of the 30-year sentence prosecutors were seeking. Chauvin’s attorneys say Cahill misapplied the sentencing guidelines. They argue, for example, that the judge should not have included abuse of a position of authority as an aggravating factor in Floyd’s murder.

In her court brief, Mohrman also noted that it contains 16,797 words — falling within the 17,000-word limit that Court of Appeals Judge Michelle A. Larkin set last week. The lawyer originally asked to file a 20,000-word brief, citing the huge amount of documents related to the lengthy trial, including a court transcript of more than 5,900 pages.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office has 45 days to respond to Chauvin’s brief.

The federal procedure is still ongoing

Chauvin officially announced its intention to appeal last September. The police department and Chauvin were also the subject of federal investigations after Floyd was killed in the street outside a convenience store.

Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges in December, admitting civil rights violations in the Floyd case and violating the rights of an unnamed 14-year-old in late 2017 when he “held minor 1 through the throat and struck Minor 1 multiple times in the head with a flashlight,” according to court documents in that case.

The plea agreement in the federal case provides that Chauvin faces a prison term of 20 to 25 years, to be served in a federal facility.

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