Derek Chauvin Appeals Murder Conviction, Claims Protesters Intimidated Jury

(Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, is appealing that verdict on the grounds that the jury was swayed by publicity and protesters.

Chauvin filed Monday to request his conviction be reversed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, according to The Associated Press. He asked that the court order a resentencing or grant a new trial in a new venue.

The former police officer was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison last June by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in the death of George Floyd. On May 25, 2020, Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground and kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes after Floyd was accused of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

The appeal argues that the trial should have been moved out of Hennepin County, where Floyd died, due to the substantial media coverage the case received there, and that jurors were pressured to convict due to fear that protesters in and around Hennepin County would threaten their safety if Chauvin was acquitted.

“The overwhelming media coverage exposed the jurors — literally every day — to news demonizing Chauvin and glorifying Floyd which was more than sufficient to presume prejudice,” the court filing said. (RELATED: Could Derek Chauvin Win An Appeal? Here’s What Legal Experts Say)

Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman, said that multiple potential jurors said during jury selection that they feared for their safety and the stability of the surrounding area if Chauvin were to be acquitted due to threats from protesters and that some expressed they were intimidated by security measures at the courthouse.

Floyd’s killing sparked a summer of widespread protests across the United States, some of which devolved into violent riots. The demonstrations are believed to have caused $2 billion in damages between May 26 and June 8, 2020, alone, and at least 19 deaths were tied to the protests and riots during that time period.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has 45 days to respond to the appeal. The filing also argues that Cahill did not properly follow sentencing guidelines and should not have included an aggravating sentencing factor for “abuse of a position of authority.”