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Differentiating the officers’ charges in the George Floyd investigation

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin changed Wednesday. The charges now include 2nd degree murder for the death of George Floyd.

FOX 47 spoke with a defense attorney, Jim McGeeney to explain the difference from the initial charges of 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter charges.

"The one what that [Chauvin] was charged with is 2nd degree unintentional. It's not an intentional act so they don't have to prove that he intended to cause Mr. Floyd's death, mainly that he intended to cause the assault," said McGeeney. "3rd degree murder is what we know as depraved mind murder where you engage in an inherently dangerous action with a depraved mind."

McGeeney also touched on the difference between murder and manslaughter saying, "[Manslaughter is] causing the death with culpable negligence. Basically, you do something that's highly risky or unusually risky or you consciously do that risky act with the chance that it could cause death or great bodily harm to somebody."

The other three officers involved, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, were all charged with aiding and abetting murder in the second degree which is a felony offense.

"Aiding and abetting is the Minnesota statute called Liability for crimes of another and you can be prosecuted if you assist, or help or conspire with another person you could be liable for the crime they commit," McGeeney explained.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said that this will be a tough case for the state, but also added this:

"We believe we have a duty to charge the charges that fit the facts in this case and we have done so. And so our concern is to put all the energy we can into putting forth the strongest case that we can without fear or favor of anyone or anything. As these charges are based on the facts that we have found and we are going to pursue them," Ellison said.

Zach Fuller

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