Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday filed an appeal of his murder conviction in the death of George Floyd.
Floyd's death in May 2020 and Chauvin's conviction this past April galvanized advocates for racial justice around the world.
Chauvin's appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals came 90 days after his June 25 sentencing on the last day he could have done so, according to court documents. He was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin raises 14 issues with his trial. He argues that the state committed "prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct" and lists several issues he has with the jury. Chauvin says that the court under Judge Peter Cahill "abused its discretion" when it denied his motion for a change of venue, declined to sequester the jury, denied him a new trial due to "juror misconduct" and did not allow him to strike "clearly biased jurors" from serving on the jury.
He also argues that Cahill erred when he declined to force Morries Hall to testify for the defense. Hall, who was Floyd's passenger the day he died, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid doing so.
Chauvin also argues that the court was wrong when it permitted the prosecution to add a third-degree murder charge and that the court gave instructions to the jury that "materially misstated the law."
His appeal also asks that a recent denial of his request for a public defender be overturned. Chauvin, who is incarcerated at the Oak Park Heights prison, pleads financial hardship, saying the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association's legal defense fund can no longer pay for his defense and that he does not have the financial resources to do so himself. The association paid for defense attorney Eric Nelson's services in his trial but will not pay for an appeal after a conviction.
The appeal comes a week after the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the third-degree murder conviction of former police officer Mohamed Noor in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, taking about eight years off his prison sentence.
In that case, the ruling upended a historic milestone — Noor was the first former officer in Minnesota to be convicted of murder for an on-duty killing. Chauvin is now the only officer in the state to be convicted of murder.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759