How is second-degree murder different from third-degree charges in Minnesota?

Charges were upgraded to second-degree murder Wednesday against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of keeping his knee on George Floyd for more than eight minutes May 25.

Chauvin, 44, was arrested Friday and originally charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd, 46.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office upgraded the charges and charged the other three officers at the scene -- Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao -- with aiding and abetting murder, the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reported.

According to Minnesota’s state statutes, a person can be charged with second-degree murder under two conditions. First, if the person “causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation." Second, if the person causes the death “while committing or attempting to commit a drive-by shooting."

Those two scenarios come under the headings of intentional murder or drive-by shootings in the Minnesota statutes.

Under the heading of unintentional murders, a person can be charged with second-degree murder if that person causes the death of a human being, without intent, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting.

A person also can be charged if a death is caused without intent “while intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm upon the victim, when the perpetrator is restrained under an order for protection.”

A person convicted of second-degree murder may be sentenced to prison for up to 40 years, according to state statutes.

Charges for third-degree murder also involve intent.

According to state statutes, a person can be charged with third-degree murder “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind,” without regard for life and without intent to kill.

A person can be convicted of manslaughter in the second degree if they can prove one of five means under Minnesota law.

“To the Floyd family, to our beloved community, and everyone that is watching, I say: George Floyd mattered. He was loved," Ellison said at a news conference Wednesday. “His life was important. His life had value. We will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.”

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