MINNEAPOLIS – The jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May.
Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
The judge asked each juror if the verdict was correct, thanked them and dismissed them. “I must thank you, on behalf of the people of the state of Minnesota, not only for juror service, but also for the high quality juror service,” said Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.
He revoked the bail and told Chauvin to show up in eight weeks for sentencing. Chauvin, silent and wearing a gray suit and a light blue surgical mask, was handcuffed and taken into custody.
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, sat with his head bowed and his hands crossed in front of his praying face before the verdict was read. As each verdict was read, his hands were shaking more and more and his head was nodding up and down.
“I was just praying that they would find him guilty. As an African American, we usually never get justice,” Floyd said.
Afterward, Floyd cried and hugged prosecutors, who shook hands with the Minnesota attorney general. A prosecutor wiped away her tears.
Chauvin, who is white, was seen in video pinning George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, to the ground with his knee on the last Memorial Day for more than nine minutes after police responded to a report that Floyd had used a fake $ 20 bill.
Video of the incident on cellphones has gone viral and sparked months of protests in the United States and abroad condemning police brutality and calling for racial justice. The widely watched trial, which began in March with jury selection, was televised live – Minnesota’s first criminal case to be televised.
Chauvin faces 12 and a half years or 150 months in prison under the sentencing guidelines for a first offender. But, the prosecution argues that there are aggravating factors that require a longer jail term. This means that Chauvin can face more of this punishment.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors argued that Chauvin’s knee – pressed against Floyd’s neck as he was handcuffed and face down on the street – led to his death from loss of oxygen. The defense argued underlying heart problems and the methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system caused Floyd’s death as he wrestled with the police.
The prosecution closed its case last week after calling 38 witnesses and viewing dozens of video clips over the course of 11 days. The defense rested Thursday after calling seven witnesses for two days. Lawyers for both sides presented their closing arguments on Monday.
Stay up to date on the aftermath of Derek Chauvin’s trial:Subscribe to SMS key updates and follow the USA TODAY network journalists on Twitter.
- Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke to the Americans after the verdict. “I wouldn’t call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice involves real restoration. But it is responsibility, which is the first step to justice,” he said.
- Silence fell on the courthouse lawn for a few moments as the verdicts were read, then the crowd erupted in cheers. In George Floyd Square, people cried, hugged and chanted Floyd’s name.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison calls verdict ‘first step to justice’
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke to the Americans after the verdict. He thanked the residents for giving prosecutors the time they needed to pursue the case.
“I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies real restoration. But it is responsibility, which is the first step towards justice,” he said.
Ellison urged residents to continue to remember George Floyd “calmly, legally and peacefully.”
To the Floyd family, Ellison said he hoped the verdict was “another step towards a long recovery.”
“There is no replacement for your beloved Perry, or Floyd as his friends called him,” Ellison said. “But he’s the one who started a global movement, and that’s important.”
Ellison cited the names of several other Americans killed by police. “We need real justice. This is not a case. It is a social transformation,” he said, adding: “Today we must end this parody of recurring deaths. and durable in the hands of law enforcement. “
‘It means everything’
Silence fell on the courthouse lawn for a few moments as the verdicts were read and then the crowd erupted in cheers. “GUILTY!” they shouted. “All three!”
Horns began to sound across town as the crowd happily chanted Floyd’s name – no longer a cry of anger, but a cry of happiness. “Say his name! GEORGE FLOYD!”
In George Floyd Square, cheers erupted. People were crying, hugging and chanting Floyd’s name. “We have what we want!” a screamed.
– Trevor Hughes
Dozens of people gather in George Floyd Square, outside the courthouse
In George Floyd Square, dozens of reporters gathered outside the Cup Foods store where Floyd died on the last Memorial Day. A handful of residents and community activists who have more or less taken up residence in the square since then stood around a fire. The tables were filled with pastries for the growing crowd.
“We are living a history in the making,” said Zach Waldauer, comparing it to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He said he was not nervous but compared the sensation to the night before a big exam.
Outside the courthouse, more than 100 journalists and a small number of neighborhood activists gathered to hear the verdict. For the first 20 minutes after the verdict was announced, a flood of office workers left the city center, their vehicles stranded in the streets.
George Floyd’s girlfriend Courtney Ross spoke briefly to reporters before the verdict was read. “I think it sounds like we have to start taking care of each other,” she said as dozens of reporters crowded around her.
“It’s so traumatic. We need a guilty verdict. We have to heal. We have to heal, ”said Amber Young, 50, a food services coordinator who worked in the same Salvation Army mission that Floyd had.
Young waved a Black Lives Matter flag in front of the Hennepin County Government Center while awaiting the verdict. “We have been in mourning. Watching the video over and over again has been traumatic,” she said. “We need to heal. We need a guilty verdict.”
During the trial, thousands of police and National Guard members were activated in Minneapolis, with guard troops carrying rifles unloaded at key intersections.
For people living and working in the city center, security measures involve road closures and armed soldiers patrolling the streets. Much of downtown Minneapolis has been closed. The few shops and restaurants still open hung “Open” signs on plywood protecting their glass. Public schools return to distance learning on Wednesday, and school officials have warned parents violence could erupt.
City leaders have said they are worried not only about the anti-police protests, but the possibility that white nationalists will seize the moment to wreak havoc.
At the same time, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a peacetime emergency declaration for seven counties, citing the potential for “further civil unrest” following protests against police gunshot to death. of Daunte Wright just north of Minneapolis and the anticipation of additional events following the Chauvin jury verdict.
The action allows federal law enforcement and police in other states to help Minnesota state agencies crack down on violence. Learn more about security preparations here.
What the accusations against Chauvin mean
Second degree murder causes the death of a human being, without intention to cause that death, by committing or attempting to commit another crime. In the Chauvin case, the alleged crime was assault in the third degree.
Third degree murder unintentionally causes someone’s death by committing an act eminently dangerous to other people while showing a depraved mind, with reckless disregard for human life.
Second degree manslaughter is culpable negligence when a person creates unreasonable risk and knowingly takes the risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else.
Learn more about the charges and jury instructions here.
Contributor: Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY