The state of Minnesota has released the official complaint filed against ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, providing context and justification for charging the disgraced law enforcer with murder and manslaughter.
According to the documents filed in Hennepin County’s 4th District Court, prosecutors accuse Chauvin of engaging in actions that directly led to the death of George Floyd.
Floyd’s tragic death incited protests across the nation of this country’s ongoing dilemma regarding police brutality against minorities, most specifically African Americans. Moreover, the proximity of the police-related deaths of Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, generated a crescendo of anger that boiled over and spilled into the streets of America.
In Minnesota, Hennepin County prosecutors say Derek Michael Chauvin is guilty of third-degree murder because he demonstrated “a depraved mind, without regard to human life” when he committed an “act inherently dangerous to others” during the arrest of Floyd on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020. That falls short of intentionally causing loss of life, which would have raised the charges to second- or first-degree murder.
The district attorney is also charging Chauvin with second-degree manslaughter because what happened after Floyd was handcuffed with his hands behind his back and lying facedown on the street. According to the legal documents, prosecutors believe Chauvin “caused the death of George Floyd by his culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk and taking a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to George Floyd.”
A major point of contention in this case is whether Chauvin is culpable in the death of Floyd because of his actions. On Tuesday, May 26, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office stated it had “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.” Instead, the ME suggested in his report that Floyd’s coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, combined with intoxication, contributed to his death.
The medical examiner’s official report was contradicted by an independent autopsy just released on Monday afternoon, June 1. That report states that Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxiation resulting from Chauvin having his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.