A Hennepin County judge dismissed a third-degree murder charge on Thursday against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin was seen on widely circulated video pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, well after he had become unresponsive. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
Charges for unintentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter still stand, however.
Under the state's sentencing guidelines, a conviction on unintentional second-degree murder carries a presumptive sentence of 12.5 years. But a judge can order a sentence ranging up to 15 years without departing from the guidelines. For second-degree manslaughter, the guidelines call for four years in prison, or a discretionary range up to 4.75 years.
In the same ruling issued by Judge Peter A. Cahill Thursday, the motion to dismiss the charges for the three other former police officers, J. Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, was denied.
Kueng, Lane and Thao are all still charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
All four of the officers were fired. (ABC 7)
Following the news, Gov. Tim Walz praised the decision to uphold the murder charges against Chauvin, calling it an "important step toward justice for George Floyd."
BREAKING: Judge upholds murder charges against Derek Chauvin and other officers. Important step toward justice for George Floyd.— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) October 22, 2020
The four ex-officers are scheduled to face trial together in March.