MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many community leaders stand behind Judge Peter Cahill’s decision to throw out the lesser charge of third-degree murder. The move has many cautiously optimistic that justice will be served.

Members of the activist community and the Minneapolis NAACP joined Attorney General Keith Ellison and Gov. Tim Walz, believing focusing on second-degree murder charges instead of third-degree for Derek Chauvin is a step towards justice.

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“Many of us in the legal community and the broader community raised concerns about whether third-degree charges would be setting Derek Chauvin up for an acquittal,” Nekima Levy Armstrong said.

Community members say this is what they wanted all along, charges they believe have a chance of leading to a guilty verdict.

“When we are asking for justice, it’s really important to be specific with charges as well, because how you make that argument will decide whether the person will walk free or not,” Angela Myers said.

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Many in the community are also content that the judge is moving forward with charges against the three former police officers connected to George Floyd’s death.

“I absolutely agree that the judge should have upheld the charges against the other three officers involved with killing George Floyd. All of them were present, all of them were culpable, and not one of them intervened in a manner that saved George Floyd’s life, so they do need be held responsible under the law for what they did,” Levy Armstrong said.

Leaders are telling people to be patient and observant of everything that happens before and during the trial.

“Continue to pay attention to updates and developments in this case. Continue to share information. Continue being advocates for justice and changes to policies and laws that produce the kinds of circumstances that we saw in George Floyds case,” Levy Armstrong said.

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Walz activated the National Guard today as a precaution following these latest rulings. Roughly 100 soldiers are standing by if needed.

Reg Chapman