Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is serving a 21 years sentence for the death of George Floyd, is back in court.
This time he is representing himself, otherwise known as pro se. He has filed a motion before the presiding judge in his case, and is requesting the judge to either overturn his conviction and order a new trial, or at least have an evidentiary hearing.
His argument is based upon new evidence that he claims was withheld from him.
Chauvin proffered to the court that he would never have pleaded guilty to the charge in 2021 if he were aware of Dr. William Schaetzel’s analysis of the cause of Floyd’s death. Schaetzel is a pathologist, but not a forensic pathologist.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes on the street outside of a convenience store after officers apprehended him. Floyd had tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill to the convenient store’s cashier.
A bystander captured Floyd’s cries of “I can’t breathe” on video and it went viral. Floyd’s death ignited violent protests and forced a sweeping national discussion of police brutality that led to marchers calling for the defunding of the police and massive accusations of racism. Floyd was black and Chauvin is white.
The police tactic of holding a suspect by the neck was taught in Chauvin's training for his job.
Tucker Carlson brought forth news of another witness who testified Floyd died of an overdose.
Chauvin and Schaetzel began corresponding in February 2023.
Schaetzel told Chauvin that he reviewed Floyd’s autopsy report and concluded that Floyd did not die from asphyxia as a result of Chauvin having his knee on Floyd’s neck. Dr. Schaetzel believes that Floyd died from complications of a rare tumor called a paraganglioma that can cause a fatal surge of adrenaline, as reported in the Associated Press.
Schaetzel did not examine Floyd’s body.
“I can’t go to my grave with what I know,” Schaetzel told The Associated Press, explaining why he reached out to Chauvin. He went on to say, “I just want the truth.”
Chauvin is also alleging that Schaetzel reached out to his trial attorney, Eric Nelson, in 2021, and the judge and prosecutor for the state charges, and Nelson never informed Chauvin.
He claims further that Nelson failed to challenge the constitutionality of the federal charge.
Chauvin is now asserting in his motion that no jury would have convicted him if the pathologist’s testimony was introduced into evidence.
Chauvin pleaded guilty to the federal charge in December 2021, and simultaneously waived his right to appeal, except on the basis of ineffective counsel. Withholding pertinent exculpatory information from a client in a situation like this could possibly define this exception.
This is the third time that Chauvin has asked for a rehearing. A federal appeals court has rejected two prior motions. He is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the highest court will hear his appeal of his state court murder conviction.
Three other former law enforcement officials who were at the scene where Floyd died were sentenced with shorter state and federal sentences.
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