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Derek Chauvin convicted of murdering George Floyd

Ex-Minneapolis police officer found guilty on all counts and faces up to 40 years in prison

46 minutes ago

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Derek Chauvin is set to be sentenced in eight weeks following his conviction © via Reuters

A jury has convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd, whose death last year set off worldwide protests against racial injustice.

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on all three charges — second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The second-degree murder count, the most serious of the three, carries a prison sentence of up to 40 years.

Wearing a grey suit, a blue tie and a mask, Chauvin furrowed his brow only slightly when the verdict was read. He was led away in handcuffs and will be sentenced in eight weeks.

Speaking after the verdict, Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney-general who led the prosecution, said: “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.”

The trial in Minneapolis has been one of the most closely watched US court cases in years, and comes at a time of calls for greater accountability when police kill people of colour while performing their duties. Jury selection began on March 9, and opening statements began on March 29. Jurors deliberated roughly 10 hours before announcing they had reached a verdict. 

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A crowd of people gathered to hear the verdict outside the Minneapolis courthouse where the case was tried © Reuters

In May last year, Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. 

“What is important to think about for justice, is what justice looks like for George Floyd’s family,” said Ashley Howard, a University of Iowa professor who studies the history of African Americans in the Midwest. “Any conviction will never bring back their father, their partner, their friend. But if a conviction brings some closure for the family, then they can call that justice.”

A crowd grew outside the Hennepin county government centre in downtown Minneapolis ahead of the verdict. One person led a familiar chat, shouting “Say his name”, to which the crowd responded “George Floyd”.

The charges against Derek Chauvin

Second-degree unintentional murder requires that prosecutors prove the defendant committed the murder while committing a felony — in Chauvin’s case, the alleged felony was assault. They did not need to prove an intent to kill, only an intent to commit the assault. The maximum penalty is 40 years in prison.

Third-degree murder, which carries a 25-year maximum sentence, applies to a defendant who kills someone while committing an “eminently dangerous” act “and evincing a depraved mind”. 

Second-degree manslaughter requires proving that a defendant acted with “culpable negligence” by creating “an unreasonable risk” of killing someone. Defendants face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The city has expected protests after the verdict, regardless of the jury’s decision. The government centre has been barricaded with a fence topped with concertina wire since March. The National Guard increased troops in the metro area last week following civil unrest in a northern suburb after police shot a 20-year-old black man during a traffic stop.

Six of the 12 jurors were white, four were black and two were multiracial, according to the Minnesota newspaper the Star Tribune.

The trial revolved around two issues: whether Chauvin’s use of force was justified and the precise cause of Floyd’s death. 

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo took the stand to condemn Chauvin’s actions, while defence attorney Eric Nelson said force can be “awful but lawful” and that Chauvin should be judged on what any reasonable officer would have done in similar circumstances.

Prosecution witnesses primarily cited asphyxia as Floyd’s cause of death, and medical examiner Andrew Baker said he died from cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement. A lawyer for Chauvin said Floyd died of cardiac arrhythmia, pointing to prior health problems and drug use.

Race has been a central element of the trial and the attention around it, although both prosecutors and defence have tried to separate the court case from its social context. Police are rarely charged when they kill someone in the line of duty, let alone convicted. 

For Jada Brown, a Minneapolis protester who supports redirecting police department funding to social services, Chauvin’s conviction is “a first step. I don’t think it’s a victory.”

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& the police just shot & killed a 15 year old girl in Columbus, Ohio (about 45 minutes ago) BUT that’s a conversation for another thread.

#MakiyahBryant
 

I’ll leave & let folks celebrate tho :horn:

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Thank goodness this racist and murderous cop was finally held accountable for his unforgivable crime. Now hopefully the criminal justice system holds all of the racist cops accountable in the future. Justice for George Floyd's family finally arrived even though it doesn't bring him back. 

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4 minutes ago, Ugly Hecty said:

Thank goodness this racist and murderous cop was finally held accountable for his unforgivable crime. Now hopefully the criminal justice system holds all of the racist cops accountable in the future. Justice for George Floyd's family finally arrived even though it doesn't bring him back. 

Agree totally. 

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21 hours ago, IsaacHarris said:

& the police just shot & killed a 15 year old girl in Columbus, Ohio (about 45 minutes ago) BUT that’s a conversation for another thread.

#MakiyahBryant
 

I’ll leave & let folks celebrate tho :horn:

It's horrible. A 15 year old child. 

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  • 1 month later...

Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced the former Minneapolis police officer to 22 1/2 years in prison on Friday for the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. Chauvin was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Family members – including Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter Gianna and Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty – read statements on behalf of the prosecution and the defense ahead of the sentencing. An earlier request by Chauvin’s defense team for a new trial was denied on Friday by Judge Cahill.

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oh really :rolleyes:

The mother of the former Minneapolis police officer being sentenced Friday in George Floyd's death told the judge that her son is a "quiet, thoughtful, honorable and selfless man" who should not receive a lengthy sentence. Carolyn Pawlenty made the statement in court before her son, Derek Chauvin, heard his sentence on a second-degree murder charge. She didn't mention Floyd by name. https://7ny.tv/2U19UqP

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