Former cop Derek Chauvin asks judge for new trial two weeks after he was found guilty of murdering George Floyd

Derek Chauvin and George Floyd
Derek Chauvin has asked the judge for a new trial - two weeks after being found guilty of murder. Photo credit: File

Former police officer Derek Chauvin has asked a Minneapolis judge for a new trial, according to court records - two weeks after he was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

On April 20 (local time), a 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty of of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man. The verdict followed three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials and medical experts.

But on Tuesday (local time), in a series of motions filed to District Court Judge Peter Cahill, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, said his client was deprived of a fair trial, adding there was prosecutorial and jury misconduct, errors of law at trial and the verdict was contrary to law. 

Chauvin's convictions carry maximum sentences of 40 years, 25 years and 10 years respectively.

The 45-year-old is remanded in custody while awaiting sentencing. 

'I can't breathe'

On May 25, 2020, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to a report of a man attempting to use a counterfeit US$20 bill to purchase cigarettes at Cup Foods, a local grocery store. At the scene they apprehended Floyd, a 46-year-old father.

During the arrest, Chauvin, then 44, restrained Floyd by pinning the handcuffed man to the pavement. He pressed his knee into the back of Floyd's neck, a position he held for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Floyd begged for his life, repeatedly gasping: "I can't breathe." 

It was footage that would spark an international outcry against systemic racism ingrained in America's law enforcement. With George Floyd's face emblazoned on flags, banners, posters and murals worldwide, the man became a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement, his death inspiring a rallying call for justice as demonstrators - some peaceful, others violent - took to the streets to protest against police brutality in a civil rights uprising.