Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of third-degree murder and guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the trial of the former Minneapolis Police Officer in the murder of George Floyd.
The jury found Chauvin, the former police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes, guilty on all three counts trib.
Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days in coming to their decision.
Chauvin, wearing a mask in court, had no apparent reaction to the guilty verdict. His bail was revoked and he was placed in handcuffs and removed from the court through a side door.
The verdict comes about 11 months after excruciating bystander video showed Chauvin impassively kneeling on the neck and back of Floyd, handcuffed and lying prone on the street, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds on May 25, 2020. Under the officer’s knees, the 46-year-old Black man gasped for air, repeatedly exclaimed “I can’t breathe” and ultimately went silent.
His final moments illustrated in clear visuals what Black Americans have long said about the ways that the criminal justice system dehumanizes Black people, setting off mass protests across the country as well as incidents of looting and unrest.
Over about three weeks of testimony in court, Minnesota prosecutors have repeatedly told jurors to “believe your eyes” and rely on that video.
“This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It is exactly that. You can believe your eyes,” prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher said in closing arguments. “This wasn’t policing. This was murder.”
The defense called seven witnesses of its own — but not Chauvin himself, as he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Chauvin’s use of force was unattractive but appropriate and said he was distracted by a crowd of hostile bystanders on the scene. He also argued that Floyd died due to fentanyl and methamphetamine use, his resistance of officers and his underlying heart problems, rather than due to Chauvin’s actions.
The second-degree murder charge says Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd’s death. The third-degree murder charge says Chauvin acted with a “depraved mind, without regard for human life.” And the second-degree manslaughter charge says Chauvin’s “culpable negligence” caused Floyd’s death.
Chauvin 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. However, Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12.5 years in prison for each murder charge and about four years for the manslaughter charge.
Six of the jurors are White, four are Black and two are multiracial, according to information released by the court.