A jury has found former Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin guilty on all three accounts in the death of George Floyd.
The jury returned its verdict early this afternoon. It found Chauvin guilty on the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin had been charged in the death of George Floyd, who died while in policy custody last May. Police had been called after Floyd allegedly attempted to use a counterfeit $20 at a local convenience store. Video of the altercation that followed showed Chauvin kneeling for over nine minutes on Floyd’s neck as he was pinned to the ground, unable to breathe.
Floyd’s death would be one of many that year which sparked a resurgence in Black Lives Matter protests around the country. Local security forces and National Guard troops have been stationed in Minneapolis in anticipation of protests following today’s verdict.
Even with a guilty verdict, Chauvin can still appeal. As the jury began deliberations yesterday, his lawyers requested a mistrial following comments by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), who said that in the event of an acquittal people should “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational.” The judge denied the mistrial request, but did say that Waters “may have given you something to appeal on.”
Lawyers for both sides wrapped up their closing arguments yesterday before sending the case to the jury. In closing arguments, the defense reiterated its case that Chauvin did not use excessive force and that Floyd’s death was the result of drug use and heart failure. Prosecutors, however, argued that Floyd died as a direct result of Chauvin’s actions, which were in excess of standard police practice.
Chauvin’s trial is one of the most highly-profiled involving police since that of the officers charged with beating Rodney King in 1992. Even President Biden weighed in; in a statement Tuesday, he told reporters, “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is — I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that.”
Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis police soon after Floyd’s death. Earlier this year, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay Floyd’s family $27 million in a civil settlement.
Though justice cannot bring back George Floyd, we are relieved to know that the murderer is being held accountable in front of the country. We stand with the Black community at this time and always. #BlackLivesMatter.
This article has been updated to reflect that Chauvin was convicted on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, not third-degree manslaughter, as previously reported.