In a ruling issued Wednesday, a Hennepin County judge dropped the third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.
Judge Peter Cahill explained his reason for dropping the charge in his summary. Saying the charge can “be sustained only in situations in which the defendant’s actions were ’eminently dangerous to other persons’ and were not specifically directed at the particular person whose death occurred.”
The ruling states that the evidence presented by the state does not show that Chauvin’s actions were “eminently dangerous” to anyone but Floyd.
Chauvin still faces the higher charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
In the ruling Judge Cahill also denied motions to dismiss charges against the other police officers present during the arrest. The three other officers — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng — charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter were upheld by the judge.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, the lead prosecutor of Floyd’s death, issued a statement calling the ruling a “positive step forward in the path towards justice for Gorge Floyd, his family, our community, and Minnesota.”
“The court has sustained eight out of nine charges against the defendants in the murder of George Floyd, including the most serious charges against all four defendants,” Ellison said.
Earlier this month, Chauvin was released on a $1million dollar bond from maximum security Oak Park Heights prison in Minnesota, where he had been held since May 31.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.