Details Are Omitted From Officer Chauvin Complaint Says Former Prosecutor
Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with the third-degree murder of George Floyd. Floyd was killed when Chauvi, a former Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floydis neck for nine minutes. The incident was caught on film and shows a frightening scene. What is interested in the complaint filed against Derek Chauvin is what has been left out.
Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig points out key facts left out of the complaint in a column written for CNN. Honig wrote that the prosecution has a good case against Chauvin, but it needs to be even more airtight.
He said, “A complaint is, essentially, a preliminary summary of evidence that prosecutors use to lodge a criminal charge and make an arrest. It is a crucial legal document but it is not final or definitive. The complaint does not necessarily set forth everything that prosecutors know now, or will learn as the investigation progresses,” he went on to say, “… the lead charge itself — third-degree murder — is light, given the facts. Third-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years, and requires proof that the defendant committed an act ’eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.’ In other words, prosecutors must show that Chauvin acted recklessly and dangerously, without necessarily intending to kill Floyd.”
Honig also brought up the fact that the charges could be upgraded. He said, “Prosecutors could have charged (and still could eventually charge) Chauvin with more serious second-degree murder, which carries a potential 40-year sentence and requires proof that the defendant intentionally killed the victim, without premeditation. The evidence seems sufficient to support such a charge — particularly given the astonishing length of time that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. Overall, the complaint lays out a devastating case against Chauvin — though it adds little to the cellphone video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The most compelling part of the complaint is the timeline. It notes that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Even more damning, the complaint notes that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for three full minutes after Floyd stopped moving and nearly two minutes after he apparently “ceas[ed] to breathe or speak.” Another officer even checked Floyd’s wrist for a pulse and said he couldn’t find one — and yet Chauvin still did not immediately move. Those facts alone could establish the intentional conduct necessary for a second-degree murder charge.”
What bothers Honig the most is what has been left out of the complaint. He wrote, “The complaint notes that, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, Floyd stated ‘I can’t breathe,’ ‘mama,’ and ‘please.’ Yet the prosecutors inexplicably omit some of the most important lines Floyd uttered in the video: ‘Don’t kill me,’ and ‘I’m about to die.’ Floyd’s statements are particularly crucial because they unequivocally put Chauvin on notice that Floyd was in mortal danger — yet Chauvin continued kneeling on his neck. Why would prosecutors leave out the clearest and most legally pivotal statements made by Floyd?” Click here to read more.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer sparked outrage and protests that have spread across the nation. There is no doubt that prosecutors will want to get this right.pol