Derek Chauvin appeals conviction in George Floyd death

Out of money and lacking legal counsel, Derek Chauvin has appealed his convictions in the death of George Floyd. 

Chauvin, who is “currently unrepresented by legal counsel in connection with the appeal,” said he believes he has “valid grounds for pursuing a Court of Appeals action,” according to Chauvin’s affidavit, filed on Thursday, just before the 90-day appeal window closed following the June 25 sentencing.

“On September 14, 2021, I was denied representation by the public defender. … Due to my current incarceration, I do not have the sufficient means to retain private counsel for the appeal,” Chauvin’s affidavit said, adding that he was informed an arrangement for the Minneapolis Police and Peace Officers Association to pay for his appeal was terminated upon his conviction and sentencing.

The specific issues Chauvin wants the courts to redress include denying him a change of venue for the trial, excluding the testimony of a man who was with Floyd on the night of his death, permitting the prosecution to present “cumulative evidence with respect to use of force,” perceived juror bias, and not sequestering the jury during the trial, among other complaints. 

In April, a Minnesota jury convicted the former Minneapolis police officer of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25, 2020, death. 

On Sept. 14, the same judge who sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison granted him “pauper status,” meaning he does not have to pay court costs or filing fees. He has no income or assets besides “nominal prison wages.” 

Chauvin is currently facing federal civil rights charges regarding the same incident. The three other officers also allegedly involved in Floyd’s death will go to trial in March. 

Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests by social justice advocates throughout the United States, and several localities have moved to restrict funding for law enforcement, claiming police departments are plagued by racial bias. Opponents of the “defund the police” movement have countered that rising crime rates are partly attributable to the decreased police presence in these cities.