Former Cop Derek Chauvin Convicted of George Floyd’s Murder
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin has been convicted of George Floyd's murder. The ex-cop – who had pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck, which eventually killed him – was found guilty on all three charges against him.
Twelve jurors found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after just 10 hours of deliberations, as per The Washington Post.
Judge Peter Cahill announced the jury's verdict at Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. He thanked the jury for a "heavy duty jury service", and announced the revocation of Chauvin's bail.
Following the verdict, Chauvin was handcuffed and taken into custody by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. The sentencing for the case will happen in eight weeks. Chauvin is expected to spend decades in prison.
Chauvin was transferred to the Minnesota Correctional Facility–Oak Park Heights, as per CNN.
What Happened in Court?
As per The Washington Post, Chauvin’s attorneys refuted the prosecutor’s theory that his kneeling resulted in Floyd’s death. They attributed the cause of death to his alleged drug use and pre-existing health conditions. They further justified the use of force reiterating that Chauvin followed protocol as per his police training.
The prosecution, however, called Chauvin’s action a “betrayal of law enforcement”, and called upon bystanders to testify, as well as medical experts to substantiate their claims on how Floyd was murdered. The doctor from the prosecution’s side attributed the death to asphyxiation, using a video to demonstrate how it occurred.
Several Minneapolis police leaders took to a stand to denounce Chauvin’s action. Floyd's girlfriend of three years who was present when the incident occurred, and a girl who was 17 at that time and told the jury she stayed up nights wishing she did more to help Floyd, gave very powerful witness testimonies in the course of the three-week trial that had 45 witnesses.
On Security Arrangements
Minneapolis has spent $1 million by deploying additional law enforcement and erecting barricades and barbed-wire fences. The US Capitol police, as per CNN, went back on the move to reinstall the fencing, and call in additional security measures on Capitol Complex grounds, after the verdict came in.
Reactions to The Verdict
Chauvin displayed very little expression to the reaction of the verdict. The courtroom, however, was jubilant after the verdict with people running out on the streets to celebrate the win for Floyd and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Floyd's family members were cheering in the courtroom, and George’s brother Philonise Floyd was seen hugging the prosecutor in the case, Jerry Blackwell, as well as the Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, after the verdict.
US President Joe Biden called the verdict a "step forward on the march towards justice in America".
On Tuesday night, Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris addressed a Press conference from the White House.
Harris said, “We are all a part of George Floyd’s legacy. And our job now is to honor it and to honor him,” Harris said.
Biden added, "No one should be above the law, and today's verdict sends that message. But it's not enough. We can't stop here.”
The President added that people should not be wary of the police, “This takes acknowledging and confronting head-on the systematic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system.”
What Was the Case?
In May 2020, Chauvin was seen on video thrusting his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight-and-a-half minutes, eventually killing him. He was arrested on 29 May 2020 and charged with murder.
The video went viral on social media, where Floyd can be seen pleading, “I can’t breathe.”
Floyd had been handcuffed for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill at a corner store. He was accused of refusing to get into a squad car and “intentionally falling down”, saying he was claustrophobic and struggling to breathe, according to the complaint.
Chauvin was the first officer to be put on trial among the other three – Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng – who were accused of aiding and abetting murder.
(With inputs from CNN, BBC and The Washington Post)
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