Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer whose involvement in the death of George Floyd sparked global protests and a reckoning on race and policing in America, was found on guilty on all charges Tuesday (April 20).
The verdict was announced at 4:05 PM local time.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020. By being found guilty on charges, he faces a maximum of 40 years behind bars.
The biggest charge Chauvin faced was Second-degree murder. Second-degree murder — unintentional is defined as causing death without intent to do so, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is 40 years.
Third-degree murder is causing death to an individual by “perpetrating an act imminently dangerous to others and evidencing a depraved mind without regard for human life,” but without the intent to cause death. It carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Second-degree manslaughter is causing the death of another by “culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk” in which the defendant “consciously takes the risk of causing death or great bodily harm to another individual.” It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The jury in Chauvin’s trial deliberated for less than 12 hours after closing arguments were made on Monday (April 19). After the defense argued for a mistrial in lieu of comments made by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Judge dismissed the notion and ordered the jury to weigh the arguments made in the case between the defense and prosecution.
Protests continued globally in the wake of Floyd’s death. The Houstonian had moved to Minneapolis in order to start a better life and had previously started as a high school football and basketball talent and was a member of the famed Screwed Up Click.
When Floyd was pulled over by Chauvin and other Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day 2020, he reportedly was in possession of a $20 counterfeit bill from a neighboring grocery store. The encounter between Floyd and the police was anything but peaceful as on-lookers recorded the event and helped spark a global call for Black Lives Matter and justice in Floyd’s name. The House of Representatives passed a police reform bill named after Floyd in March.
Chauvin was seen on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Throughout much of the ordeal, Floyd told the officers he couldn’t breathe and called out for his mother. When Chauvin’s defense argued Floyd’s death was due to numerous reasons other than Chauvin’s death from fentanyl to heart issues, the prosecution quickly countered with expert testimony from medical examiners.
“He did what he did on purpose, and it killed George Floyd,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said during the trial.
In total, 45 witnesses were called during the trial, including Chauvin’s former supervisors who argued the ex-cop was in the wrong in regards to Floyd’s death. When asked whether he would take the stand in his own defense, Chauvin pleaded the fifth.
Chauvin had become the first white Minneapolis officer to be charged with murder in the death of a civilian. His trial was the first a judge authorized cameras to witness the full scope of the trial.
The trial continued as Minneapolis dealt with another shooting: the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old motorist. The officer involved in his death has been charged with manslaughter.