MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – The Supreme Court declined to hear former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s appeal of his conviction for the 2020 murder of George Floyd. The court’s decision comes after Chauvin’s attorney argued that his client was denied a fair trial, citing the denial of a change of venue and the jury’s exposure to extensive pretrial publicity and protests in the area.
Chauvin’s appeal was based on the assertion that the jurors had a vested interest in finding him guilty to avoid further rioting in their community. However, the Supreme Court denied the request without providing any comment.
In response to the decision, Neal Katyal, the attorney representing Minnesota, expressed satisfaction, stating, “We are very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Derek Chauvin’s appeal.”
The murder of George Floyd in May 2020 ignited widespread protests against police brutality and racism against Black Americans after video captured Chauvin, a White officer, pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes while Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
Subsequently, a 12-member Hennepin County jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. Chauvin was sentenced to 22½ years in prison. In addition, a Minnesota appeals court rejected Chauvin’s petition for a new trial, dismissing his argument that intense media publicity had hindered his right to a fair trial.
Chauvin is now appealing his conviction on federal civil rights charges, arguing that new evidence shows he wasn’t responsible for Floyd’s death. As of now, Chauvin, 47, is incarcerated at a federal prison in Tucson.
The refusal of the Supreme Court to hear Chauvin’s appeal reinforces the previous rulings and brings the legal process related to the tragic death of George Floyd closer to its resolution.