(NBC News) Jury selection began Tuesday in the murder trial of Dereck Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer seen in cell phone video with his knee across George Floyd's neck in the minutes before his death.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to charges of second degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd's death. The court is still considering whether a count of third degree murder could also be considered by jurors.
Legal observers say that could be critical for the prosecution.
"Only one police officer in the history of Minnesota has been convicted of killing someone on duty, and he was convicted on a third degree murder charge," points out civil rights attorney and former prosecutor David Henderson.
Judge Peter Cahill, who initially threw the charge out in the fall, says he's waiting on an appellate court ruling before deciding about reinstating the third degree option for jurors.
Chauvin's defense team has indicated if the third degree charge is included they'll file an appeal.
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