MINNEAPOLIS: A judge in Minnesota on Thursday decided to bring a new murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the police officer on trial for the racially-motivated killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
The 44-year-old Chauvin already faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd's May 25, 2020, death in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors had asked the Hennepin County judge hearing the case to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin in the high-profile trial.
Judge Peter Cahill agreed to reinstate the third-degree murder charge on Thursday after higher courts ruled he should do so.
Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison while third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Jury selection in the case began on Tuesday and five jurors have been selected for the panel so far. Twelve jurors and two alternates will hear the case.
A video of Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, sparked a summer of protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the United States.
Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force, has pleaded not guilty.
Opening arguments in the trial are expected on March 29 with a verdict at the end of April.
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