The Verdict Is In: Former Officer Derek Chauvin Found Guilty On All 3 Charges In George Floyd Murder Trial
Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all three charges — second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — in the death of George Floyd.
The breakdown of the verdict, handed down Tuesday, April 20, is as followed, according to CNN.
- GUILTY on Second-Degree Unintentional Murder: This charge alleges Chauvin caused Floyd's death "without intent" while committing or attempting to commit felony third-degree assault. In turn, third-degree assault is defined as the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm.
- GULITY on Third-Degree Murder: This charge alleges Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life."
- GUILTY on Second-Degree Manslaughter: This charge alleges Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm."
Chauvin, 45, could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The actual sentences, which will be set at a later date, will likely be much lower, because the 45-year-old has no prior convictions.
Following the verdict, Chauvin's bail was revoked and he was remanded into custody.
The trial began on March 8 and was the first criminal trial in Minnesota that was entirely televised and the first in state court to be broadcast live. Chauvin did not testify during the trial, invoking his 5th Amendment right.
The anonymous 12-person jury and three alternates was made up of six white, four black and two multi-racial jurors.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presided over the case. Attorney General Keith Ellison lead the prosecution while Chauvin was represented by defense attorney Eric Nelson.
Chauvin was arrested on May 29, 2020, and initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, making him the first white American police officer in Minnesota to be charged in the death of an African-American civilian. On June 3, 2020, charges were amended to include second-degree murder, specifically unintentional second-degree murder while attempting to commit felony assault.
He was released on conditional bail on October 7, 2020, after posting a bond of $1 million.
On May 25, 2020, Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minn., while being arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill. During the arrest, Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds after he was handcuffed and lying face down.
Two police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, assisted Chauvin in restraining Floyd, while another officer, Tou Thao, prevented bystanders from interfering with the arrest and intervening as events unfolded.
Floyd had complained about being unable to breathe prior to being on the ground, but after being restrained he became more distressed, and continued to complain about breathing difficulties, the knee on his neck, and expressed the fear he was about to die. After several minutes passed, Floyd stopped speaking. For a further two minutes, he lay motionless and officer Kueng found no pulse when urged to check. Despite this, Chauvin refused pleas to lift his knee until medics told him to.
The following day, after videos made by witnesses and security cameras became public, all four officers were dismissed. Two autopsies found Floyd's death to be a homicide. His death has since spawned worldwide protests against police brutality, police racism and lack of police accountability.
Kueng, Lane and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Their trial is scheduled to begin August 23, 2021.
On March 12, Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Floyd's family.