On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) refused to hear the appeal of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who say he was wrongly convicted for the death of George Floyd in May of 2020.
According to ABC News, none of the nine justices commented on the decision, but decided to let the current conviction of second-degree murder stand. Chauvin is currently serving a sentence of 22 and a half years.
Chauvin’s lawyers have argued that he was incapable of receiving a fair trial because of the massive publicity the case received beforehand, tainting the jury pool and also raising fears of even more widespread violence if he were to be acquitted. Chauvin has also appealed his conviction on federal civil rights charges.
The initial video filmed of the incident on May 25th, 2020 appeared to show Chauvin putting his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck as he was being arrested for being under the influence of drugs in public, with Floyd repeatedly screaming “I can’t breathe.” However, the bodycam footage from the officers eventually showed that, when viewed from a different angle, it was clear that Chauvin’s knee was not on Floyd’s neck, but instead on his back and shoulder. Furthermore, Floyd had previously been seated in the back of the police car, continuing to scream “I can’t breathe” even though no one was touching him.
The autopsy later confirmed that Floyd’s cause of death was pre-existing heart problems as well as an overdose of fentanyl, as he had taken all of the fentanyl he had on his person just as the police arrived, in order to avoid being caught with the drugs. Floyd also had the Chinese Coronavirus shortly before his death.
Floyd’s death, which many have falsely described as murder, sparked nationwide race riots in the summer of 2020, as the black nationalist group Black Lives Matter and the Anarcho-Communist group Antifa began a mass campaign of violence, destruction, and death in major cities across the country. The violence included the destruction of hundreds of businesses and other buildings, the deaths of dozens of civilians, and over $2 billion worth of damage.