US judge adds murder charge against officer on trial for Floyd death

MINNEAPOLIS (AFP) – A Minnesota judge on Thursday added an additional murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the police officer on trial for the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin, 44, is already facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death in Minneapolis.

Prosecutors had asked the Hennepin County judge hearing the case to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin in the high-profile trial.

Judge Peter Cahill agreed to reinstate the third-degree murder charge on Thursday after higher courts ruled he should do so.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison while third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Jury selection in the case began on Tuesday and five jurors have been selected for the panel so far. Twelve jurors and two alternates will hear the case.

An image from a video shows defence attorney Eric Nelson (L) and defendant former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listening to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill during pretrial motions at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. PHOTO: AP