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What is 2nd-degree murder? The charge against Derek Chauvin following George Floyd’s death

DEREK Chauvin, the disgraced police officer accused of pressing his knee against George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, has now been charged with unintentional second-degree murder.

Chauvin had initially been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, but the charges were upgraded on Wednesday.

What is 2nd-degree murder in Minnesota?

Investigators have found that the police officer's actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd's death.

“Officer Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr. Floyd’s death as well," states the criminal complaint.

Second-degree murder is when a person commits a felony crime, and as a result, causes death - without intent.

Floyd died on Memorial Day while being arrested by Chauvin and other officers.

Four officers, including Chauvin, were fired the following day, and he was hit with the initial criminal charges a few days later.

Floyd "died because he was starving for air,” lawyer Ben Crump told reporters on Wednesday.

“He needed a breath. So we are demanding justice."

What is the difference between 2nd-degree murder and 3rd-degree murder?

Third-degree murder is defined by "by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind," without regard for life and without intent to kill.

It happens when a person carries out a dangerous action, which they knew had the potential to kill, but disregards the risk.

It is considered a less serious offense than second-degree murder.

What does aiding and abetting mean?

Three other officers - Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death.

An aiding and abetting charge accuses someone of helping another person in the commission of a crime.

A conviction on that charge could lead to a prison sentence and a fine.

What are Derek Chauvin’s previous offenses?

Chauvin had 18 complaints filed against him, according to CNN.

Two of the complaints were "closed with discipline," an internal affairs public summary shows.

He received a letter of reprimand in both cases.

Chauvin was reprimanded for pulling a woman out of her car in 2007, frisking her and placing her in his squad car after he stopped her for speeding 10 miles per hour over the limit.

His dashboard camera was not activated and a report said he could have interviewed the woman while standing outside her car.

Personnel records show Chauvin served as a military policeman in the US Army in the late 1990s.

He has been awarded two medals of valor since he started as a police officer.

One was for being part of a group of officers who opened fire on a stabbing suspect after the man pointed a shotgun at them in 2006, and the other was for nabbing another man in a domestic incident in 2008.

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