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Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

George Floyd Officer Trial
Chauvin verdict reading
Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 20, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

The jury returned the unanimous verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over Monday night and Tuesday morning. The jury did not ask any questions of the judge during their deliberations.

WARNING: This story and video contain images and descriptions of disturbing actions.

Below is video from the Floyd family of their reaction to the verdict.

Following the verdict, Chauvin's bail was revoked and he will now remain in custody for the next eight weeks until sentencing. Judge Peter Cahill thanked the jury for "not only jury service, but heavy duty jury service."

After the verdict was announced, there are reports President Joe Biden, first lady Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called the Floyd family from the Oval office. Earlier in the day Biden told reporters he had talked to the family before the verdict came in and joined them in prayer. The president is expected to make remarks Tuesday evening.

At a press conference, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said "I would not call today's verdict justice, however, because justice implies restoration. But it is accountability."

The National Basketball Association and the players' union released a statementafter the verdict, saying Floyd's death was "a flash point for how we look at race and justice in our country" and while they are "pleased that justice appears to have been served," they also "recognize that there is much work to be done ... to advocate for meaningful change."

Floyd's death had a huge affect on the league in the last year, with players and the league being vocal about their thoughts on police brutality and social injustice. Many shared their emotional personal stories about injustice and experiencing racial profiling.

It will be a little while before a sentence is determined. Chauvin has opted to have the judge decide if any of the sentences should be lengthened because of factors, and there will be a presentence investigation to determine if there should be sentence enhancements. In Minnesota, second-degree murder has a possible sentence of 10-40 years, third-degree murder is 10-25 years and second-degree manslaughter has a possible sentence of about 3 to 10 years.

During that investigation, witness testimony, like that from bystanders who were as young as nine years old, could be weighed.

Floyd died after being pinned down on the pavement for several minutes by multiple officers from the Minneapolis Police Department. Officers had originally responded to the Cup Foods store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a counterfeit bill.

Widely-shared video from a bystander showed Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes while the man struggled to breathe and called out for help.

Floyd’s death sparked several months of protests against police brutality and racial injustice throughout the country last summer.

Following the announcement Tuesday afternoon a verdict had been reached, Hennepin County Court personnel, where Minneapolis is located, were told to stop working in their offices downtown and leave the downtown area. A crowd had gathered outside the courthouse and in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis.

During the trial and closing arguments, prosecutors tried to keep the jury focused on that nine-minute span and the actions that were, or were not, taken. They called several medical experts who said Floyd died from asphyxia, or a low level of oxygen that caused his heart and brain to stop working.

"A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died," pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin told the jury.

The prosecution also included testimony from the Minneapolis chief of police and department trainers on what kind of training officers receive in regard to handling situations with subjects.

In what is called “spark of life” testimony, the prosecution called witnesses to give the jury an impression of who Floyd was before his death. This included emotional testimony from his girlfriend and his brother, Philonise Floyd.

The defense argued underlying medical factors, drug use and potentially carbon monoxide poisoning from cars on the road contributed to Floyd’s death, and that other circumstances may have justified Chauvin’s use of force at the time.

Attorney Eric Nelson tried to inject reasonable doubt about the exact cause of Floyd’s death; like asking the medical examiner about other factors he listed on the official death certificate, including heart disease and hypertension. Chauvin did not testify during the trial.

After the 12 jurors and two alternates were selected in March, 45 witnesses were called to testify over 14 days of presenting evidence. The 12 members of the jury who deliberated included four people who identify as Black, two who identify as multiracial and six people who identify as white; there are seven women and five men.

The jury was sequestered during their deliberations, however they were able to return home each night during the trial.

Watch CourtTV's live coverage below.
WARNING: This story and video contain images and descriptions of disturbing actions.

After the jury had been given the case on April 19, the defense made a motion for a mistrial following statements from a congresswoman about the trial, reports of tv shows with fictional storylines that appeared to reference the trial, and other media coverage the jury may have been exposed to.

Rep. Maxine Waters on April 17 told protesters in Minneapolis to get “more confrontational” if there was no guilty verdict.

While the judge said the statements from lawmakers were “abhorrent,” he did not think they “mattered that much” and “did not unfairly prejudice the jury.” He denied the motion, however he admitted that the situation may be material for a possible appeal.

On Tuesday morning, President Joe Biden shared his thoughts on the case and said he had called the Floyd family and joined them in prayers. Biden told reporters he only shared this because he knew the jury was sequestered at the time and would not see what he would be saying about the case.

Three other officers who were at the scene when Floyd died are also facing charges. The trials for Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao will be held later this summer. Each face two charges: aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.