What does second-degree murder mean? Exploring the charges against officers involved in the George Floyd case.

Around the world, we continue to witness protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Standing against police brutality and racism, many have also chosen to donate to a number of causes and sign petitions in hopes of facilitating justice.

Recently, we also saw the introduction of Blackout Tuesday, which saw many people post black squares to their social media accounts. However, this proved divisive, with many arguing that silence is the last thing the Black Lives Matter movement needs and that the hashtag prevented people from accessing important information.

Updates on the escalating situation surface every day and, arguably, the biggest comes with news of charges against Derek Chauvin…

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What does second-degree murder mean?

As highlighted by FindLaw, second-degree murder is outlined as intentional murder which lacks premeditation.

So, essentially it’s murder which hasn’t been planned out beforehand.

The actions are determined to have been born of intentions only to cause bodily harm.

Interestingly, the source notes that some states don’t use the term, although still tend to divide crimes of murder into different degrees with varied sentencing accordingly.

Examples of second-degree murder include:

  • Upon causing extreme bodily harm, they plan to kill the victim but didn’t plan on murdering them before the violence began.
  • Causing extreme bodily harm while being aware that their actions could result in the victim’s death
  • Murder as a result of extreme indifference to human life; disregarding the fact that their actions may result in loss of life.

Let’s consider the charges currently against the officers involved.

George Floyd: What are the officers charged with?

The BBC notes that Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck, resulting in his death, is now being charged with second-degree murder.

Court documents also illustrate that the other three officers present are facing counts of aiding and abetting murder.

They were previously uncharged; their names are Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao.

The source includes word from the Floyd family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump:

“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest.”

However, he later informed CNN that the family strongly believe the charge should be of first-degree murder. It’s possible that charges could be revised yet again.

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