Derek Chauvin makes new bid to overturn George Floyd conviction

  • Chauvin has asked a federal judge to throw out his 2021 conviction 
  • In his federal case, Chauvin accepted a plea deal in which he admitted responsibility for the 2020 death of Floyd 
  • He is now attempting to present evidence that the cause of Floyd’s death was an alternative medical reason that has not been previously explored 

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filed a motion in federal court asking the judge who presided over his trial to toss his conviction and order a new trial.

In the motion filed Monday, Chauvin argues he never would have pleaded guilty to murdering George Floyd had he known about the theories of a Kansas pathologist.

The former cop says Dr. William Schaetzel, of Topeka, believes that Floyd died not from asphyxia as the result of Chauvin’s applied force, but from complications of a rare tumor called a paraganglioma that can cause a fatal surge of adrenaline.

The pathologist, with whom Chauvin began communicating in February of this year, did not examine Floyd’s body, but did review autopsy reports.

He told the Associated Press: ‘I can’t go to my grave with what I know. I just want the truth.

Chauvin, who filed the motion without an attorney, is asking for a new trial or at least an evidentiary hearing.

Former police officer Derek Chauvin is asking a federal judge to throw out his conviction in the death of George Floyd

His motion presents an alternate theory for the cause of Floyd's death, which Chauvin accepted blame for in a 2021 plea deal

The convicted former officer is serving a 21-year sentence at a federal prison in Arizona.

Chauvin further alleged that Schaetzel attempted to contact his trial attorney, Eric Nelson, in 2021, as well as the judge and the proseuction in his separate state-court murder trial.

He says Nelson never mentioned the pathologist or his theory. He also says that Nelson failed to challenge the constitutionality of the federal charge.

In his 2021 plea deal, Chauvin admitted that on May 25, 2020, he ‘willfully violated Mr. Floyd’s constitutional right to be free from an officer’s use of unreasonable force.’

Specifically, he said that he held his left knee across Floyd’s neck, back and shoulder, and his right kneww on Floyd’s back and arm.

The plea agreement said that Floyd remained restrained, prone and handcuffed on the ground for about 10 minutes and that Chauvin continued to use force even though he was aware that the suspect had stopped resisting, speaking, or moving.

‘Chauvin admitted that his willful use of unreasonable force resulted in Mr. Floyd’s bodily injury and death because his actions impaired Mr. Floyd’s ability to obtain and maintain sufficient oxygen to sustain Mr. Floyd’s life,’ read a memo from the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs.

He added that he failed to render medical assistance to Floyd, though he knew the victim was in serious medical need. He admitted that his ‘failure to render medical aid resulted in Mr. Floyd’s bodily injury and death.’ 

When Chauvin pleaded guilty to the federal charge in December 2021, he waived his rights to appeal except on the basis of a claim of ineffective counsel.

A federal appeals court has rejected Chauvin’s requests for a rehearing twice. He’s still waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether it will hear his appeal of his state court murder conviction.


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