Derek Chauvin appeals his conviction in George Floyd’s death

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer found guilty of murdering George Floyd, appealed the conviction on his own behalf at the 11th-hour Thursday, CBS Minnesota reports.

Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death on Memorial Day of 2020. He was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in prison.

When video of Floyd’s death went viral, it sparked the biggest U.S. demonstrations for racial justice in decades.

In the filing, which was made on the last say it could be, Chauvin said he’s out of money and “unrepresented by legal counsel in connection with the appeal.”

He said he was denied representation by a public defender, and is asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to review that decision.

He also said the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis no longer represents him now that he was convicted.

Eric Nelson represented Chauvin in state court and is currently listed as his counsel for a federal civil rights case in which Chauvin has pleaded not guilty.

Late Thursday, Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over Chauvin’s trial, granted Chauvin “pauper status,” which means he’s exempt from having to pay court costs and filing fees.

Attorney Joe Tamburino, who wasn’t affiliated with Chauvin’s case, told CBS Minnesota Thursday evening that it’s very unusual that Chauvin wouldn’t have his trial attorney filing the appeal for him.

“He’s been denied a public defender. He’s in prison … for the next 22-plus years,” Tamburino said. “I don’t know why that was denied.”

Among the assertions in Chauvin’s appeal and aspects of the trial he pointed to:

  • The court “abused its discretion” when denying the defense’s motion for a change of venue, sequestration of the jury for the entire trial, a continuance and a new trial.
  • There was “prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct” committed by state prosecutors.
  • The court’s decision to allow Morries Hall, who was with Floyd the night of his death, to not testify.
  • The court’s decision to deny the presentation of “cumulative evidence with respect to use of force.”
  • The court’s order for state prosecutors “to lead witnesses on direct examination.”
  • The court’s alleged failure to make an official record of sidebar conferences throughout the trial.
  • The court’s alleged failure in allowing the defense to strike “clearly biased jurors during voir dire (jury selection)”
  • The court’s allowing the added third-degree murder charge.
  • The court’s decision to limit and “undercut” the admission into evidence of Floyd’s May 6, 2019 arrest.
  • The court’s denial of the defense’s “post-verdict motion for a new trial due to juror misconduct.”

Chauvin also pleaded not guilty last week to a federal charge of violating the civil rights of a teen in a 2017 case that involved a restraint that was similar to the one he used on Floyd.

Chauvin, who is white, knelt on the neck of Floyd, who was Black, for almost 10 minutes. Body camera and surveillance footage submitted in court showed Floyd lying face down on the street, begging for air and not resisting arrest as Chauvin was on top of him.

Footage also showed two of the other three now-former officers with Chauvin on the night of Floyd’s death — J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — helping to restrain Floyd. Kueng is seen knelling on Floyd’s back while Lane holds Floyd’s legs. The third officer, Tou Thao, is seen dealing with bystanders at the scene and preventing them from intervening.

All three men also pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights charges. They face state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Their joint trial is scheduled to start in March.