Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, has asked a judge to dismiss the murder charge as prosecutors are pushing for longer sentences.
A lawyer for Chauvin filed a motion in court on Friday alleging there was no likely reason to support the second degree, third degree and second degree homicide charges brought against his client.
The motion claimed that Floyd's death was caused by drugs in his system, not that Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck for an extended period of time.
"Put simply, Mr. Floyd could not breathe because he took a fatal dose of fentanyl," the file said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin (left) called on a judge Friday to dismiss his murder charge over the death of George Floyd (right).
The filing also argued that pre-existing conditions such as sickle cell traits, heart disease and COVID-19 may have made the drugs worse.
The 44-year-old chauvin was first charged in June after Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Witness tapes showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds pleading, "I can't breathe!"
Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Kiernan and Tou Thao were on site during the incident. They helped hold Floyd back.
Floyd eventually passed out and was taken to a local hospital before he died.
Cell phone footage of the disturbing detention was shared on social media, immediately sparking a wave of brutality against the police, protests against Black Lives Matter that have lasted for more than 10 weeks.
Footage of the incident showed Floyd pleading with officers not to breathe, but they ignored him and continued to hold him
Chauvin was charged with murder, while the other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
All four officers have been fired from their positions in the Minneapolis Police Department.
The first toxicological report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said that Floyd had 11 nanograms of fentanyl in his blood at this point, which may have contributed to his death.
However, a second autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family revealed that he died of mechanical asphyxiation because Chauvin was kneeling on his airway.
The difference in autopsy reports, as well as in discussions between the prosecutor and the examiner in June, depends on the application.
Dr. Andrew Baker had previously told prosecutors that Floyd's system had enough fentanyl to classify his death as an overdose.
"If (Mr. Floyd) had been found dead at home alone with no other obvious cause, it would have been acceptable to call his death an overdose," the motion reads, the WSJ reports.
While Chauvin knelt by Floyd's neck, ex-officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Kiernan helped hold him back
In the picture (from left to right): Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Kiernan and Tou Thao
The motion also stated that Chauvin assumed Floyd was simply resisting arrest and not realizing he couldn't breathe – although Floyd said so several times.
"What Mr. Chauvin saw was a strong man fighting mightily with cops, which contradicted Mr. Floyd's claims of being unable to breathe," it said.
& # 39; Lord. Chauvin had no knowledge of Mr. Floyd's underlying problems when he arrived on site. "
In addition, Chauvin's attorney quoted Dr. Baker's remarks that he found no physical evidence of asphyxiation on Floyd.
Instead, he argued that death was "a cardiopulmonary arrest making law enforcement, restraint and neck compression difficult".
The defendants added that the coroner did not find any bruises on Floyd's back or neck. They argued Chauvin had no intention of harming the father of five.
The three other officers had previously moved to dismiss their charges.
The nationwide demonstration overtook the US this summer after George Floyd was killed in police custody on Memorial Day
In addition, Chuavin called for the Hennepin District Prosecutor's Office to be removed from the case because his legal team viewed it as an "inappropriate advertising campaign in court".
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, described Friday's motion as a "desperate attempt at charlatan tactics".
"The whole world saw what happened and this video speaks for itself," he wrote in a statement to WSJ.
All four men are currently on trial in Hennepin County on March 8, 2021, and none of the charges are yet to be changed.
It has not yet been decided whether the four men should be tried together, but prosecutors filed a request two weeks ago.
They argued that all the factors needed to carry out an accession process were met.
The public prosecutor's office informed the courts on Friday that they intend to request upwardly sentenced departures or longer prison terms for every man.
Attorney General Keith Ellison's office filed the motion, Star Tribune reports, citing five reasons why men's sentences should be increased.
Pictured: Protesters march in Minneapolis during a protest against racial inequality following the death of George Floyd in New York City
First, Floyd was "particularly vulnerable" because he was handcuffed to the floor during the incident.
& # 39; Lord. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty, ”Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank and Special State Attorney Neal Katyal wrote on the second point.
Despite Floyd's requests and concerned onlookers, the four officers continued to detain him.
"This maneuver caused free pain to Mr. Floyd," the file says.
The reasons given were the officials who abused their position of authority, the fact that the incident happened in front of children and the four men appeared as a group.
If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second degree murder.
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