The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's appeal of his conviction for second-degree murder in the 2020 arrest killing of George Floyd.
Floyd's killing sparked widespread protests across the country against police brutality, focusing on the issue of racial justice.
Justices declined to hear Chauvin's appeal after a Minnesota appeals court upheld his 2021 murder conviction and denied his request for a new trial.
Chauvin's lawyers argued that their client was denied a fair trial in 2021 because of pretrial publicity and concerns about violence in the event of an acquittal.
He was found guilty by a 12-member jury in April 2021 of three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter after a three-week trial that included testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police and medical experts.
Chauvin is serving a 22-and-a-half-year prison sentence for killing the black man by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest.
His lawyer urged the High Court to accept the appeal to consider whether the jury was biased by a desire to avoid the “threat of harm to the community if a guilty verdict is not reached”. Chauvin's attorney also said a juror may have concealed potential bias by failing to disclose during the jury selection process that he had attended “an anti-police ‘George Floyd' rally.”
Minnesota lawyers did not respond to Chauvin's petition, asking the Supreme Court to hear his appeal.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals in April rejected Chauvin's appeal, upholding his conviction and denying his request for a new trial. The Minnesota Supreme Court in July denied Chauvin's request to rehear the case, prompting his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a May 25, 2020 confrontation captured on video by onlookers, Chauvin drove his knee into the 46-year-old man's neck while he and three of his fellow officers tried to arrest Floyd.
Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store.
A bystander video captured Floyd's faint screams of “I can't breathe.” Floyd's death sparked protests around the world, some of which turned violent, and forced a national reckoning with police brutality and racism that continues to play out.
Three other former officers at the scene received lesser state and federal sentences for their roles in Floyd's death.
Additional reports from agencies