After three weeks of witness testimony, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of three counts of murder against the late George Floyd
After three weeks of witness testimony from 45 individuals that ranged from passersby and policemen to medical experts, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges for the murder of George Floyd. Upon the conclusion of witness testimony, the jury took approximately 10 hours to reach its decision.
Having been convicted of second-degree, manslaughter, second-degree unintentional murder, and third-degree murder, Chauvin now faces the prospect of up to 75 years in prison once his sentencing begins eight weeks from now. Due to Minnesota law, however, the sentences will likely run at the same time, meaning that the 45-year old Chauvin would serve no more than 40 years in prison.
In delivering this verdict, the jury rejected the defense’s argument that Floyd died due to a heart ailment and illegal drug usage. Instead, they sided with the prosecution’s contention that Floyd died because of lethal force from Officer Chauvin that was entirely unwarranted given the circumstances.
Just outside of the courtroom, the gathered crowd erupted in celebration when news of the verdict arrived, with crowd members jubilantly chanting, “All three counts! All three counts!” At George Floyd Square, the Minneapolis intersection renamed in honor of the late George Floyd, ecstatic shouts and applause arose from the gathered crowd upon hearing the verdict.
The verdict’s delivery brings a closing chapter to a global fight for justice and accountability on George Floyd’s behalf that began when Derek Chauvin was videotaped fatally driving his knee into the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. Chauvin and three additional police officers were trying to arrest Floyd, who had been accused of using a fake $20 bill to purchase cigarettes at a nearby grocery store. Floyd’s death sparked a sweeping wave of protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S. and the world last summer.
Speaking at a press conference after the verdict’s announcement, however, George Floyd’s brother Philonese maintained that the struggle for justice did not end with the jury’s decision. In this vein, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told press members that the verdict was a “first step towards justice” and should be used as a springboard toward the reformation of police practices going forward.