Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on all charges of the murder of African American George Floyd during his arrest in May 2020.
Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. The deliberations of the jury lasted a little over ten hours, which led to a relatively quick verdict. The judges were kept anonymous during the process to ensure their safety.
The second degree murder charge has a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, while third degree murder has up to 25 years in prison and second degree homicide up to ten years in prison. Chauvin was taken into custody at the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office with bail waiver.
Judge Peter Cahill, who was overseeing the trial, told jury that the sentencing would come in about two months.
The media and protesters gathered in front of the courthouse in the hour before the verdict was pronounced. Protesters also gathered outside the supermarket where Floyd was arrested, and local media reported high spirits among the crowd.
The video of Floyd’s arrest went viral last year, sparking riot in cities across the country and leading to Chauvin’s release from the Minneapolis Police Department. The video showed Chauvin Floyd having his knee stuck on the floor for more than nine minutes and also pausing after Floyd lost consciousness.
Floyd was pronounced dead at the location of his arrest. The study mainly focused on the extent to which Chauvin’s actions caused Floyd’s death in combination with other factors, such as a history of high blood pressure and Floyd’s use of a fentanyl / methamphetamine combination shortly before the arrest.
The video of the incident sparked massive civil unrest in Minneapolis that spread to cities in the United States. The damage from nationwide riots was estimated by insurers at $ 1 billion to $ 2 billion, and demonstrations against Floyd’s death continued throughout the summer.
Following Wednesday’s ruling, Minnesota officials prepared for possible unrest and attempted to secure Minneapolis, known as Operation Safety Net, to coordinate local law enforcement agencies to protect the city. The Minnesota National Guard deployed 3,000 soldiers to aid the effort, and guardsmen were seen outside government buildings and on the streets.
“It will be a week before we can prove that our judicial system works and that there is a place where your First Amendment rights can be expressed peacefully, loudly and emotionally,” said Governor Tim Walz on Friday. “But we cannot and we will not allow what happened in May to happen again.”
However, it was unclear whether rioting would break out after Wednesday’s convictions.
“George Floyd died because Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and prevented him from breathing for more than nine minutes,” Senator Tim Scott (R., SC) said in a statement immediately following the verdict. “I have no question that the jury made the right decision.”
Judge Cahill said Monday that remarks from Representative Maxine Waters, D., Calif., Could result in the appeal process being “overturned”. Waters had urged protesters to “become more confrontational” unless the jury found a guilty verdict.
“I give you that Congressman Waters may have given you something on appeal that could result in this entire process being overturned, ”Cahill told Chauvin’s attorney. However, Cahill added that Waters’ remarks were not sufficient reason to declare a mistrial.
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