Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been accused of killing unarmed Black man George Floyd, is no longer facing one of his murder charges.
In a ruling issued Wednesday, Judge Peter Cahill of Hennepin County dropped Chauvin’s third-degree murder charge for Floyd’s May 25 death.
However, Chauvin still faces second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter charges after he was seen on video pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Cahill also denied motions to dismiss the aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter charges against the other three former officers involved, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng.
In his decision, Cahill wrote that the state has met the burden of probable cause in the charges against Thao, Lane, and Kueng, and that a jury will decide whether the former officers are guilty or not.
After Cahill’s ruling went public, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the prosecution, called it a "positive step forward in the path toward justice for George 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, adding, "We look forward to presenting the prosecution's case to a jury in Hennepin County.”
Per the Associated Press, prosecutors argue that Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd and that the other officers assisted.
However, Chauvin’s attorney says his client had no intent to assault or kill Floyd. The attorneys for the other officers claim their clients did not intend or conspire to help Chauvin.
Earlier this month, Chauvin was released from Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility after posting bail.
Per a May press release from the Minneapolis Police Department, authorities arrived at the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on the night of May 25 in response to an alleged forgery in progress.
While the police release says Floyd “physically resisted officers,” this claim has been the subject of much debate.