A decision to toss out the third-degree murder charge against ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin in the police-custody death of George Floyd was reversed by an appeals court Friday, according to a report.
The reversal could delay the trial of the former officer, who already faces second-degree murder and manslaughter raps, an NBC-TV affiliate reported.
The case is slated for jury selection Monday, with the trial having been expected to start March 29 at the earliest.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals found that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill erred when he denied prosecutors’ request to reinstate the lesser murder charge. The appeals court sent the case back to Cahill for reconsideration, the outlet reported.
Chauvin’s defense team could now appeal the decision to Minnesota’s Supreme Court — the highest court in the state — which could delay the trial, according to the report.
Cahill dropped the third-degree murder charge in October, a rap that prosecutors sought to reinstate to give jurors more options in case they struggled to convict on the heavier second-degree charge.
The 44-year-old cop was fired after a viral video showed him kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s May 25 death sparked a wave of protests against police brutality and social injustices across the country and world.
Three other former Minneapolis police officers are also awaiting separate trials for their alleged involvement in Floyd’s death.
A criminal-defense lawyer for Chauvin did not return a request for comment.