Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty in second-degree unintentional murder, guilty of third-degree murder and guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin was found guilty on all counts.
Prosecutors have announced that they will be seeking an enhanced penalty at sentencing, and that will be scheduled for a later time.
The panel of jurors was made up of five men and seven women, with deliberation beginning Monday after three weeks of witness testimony. The jury deliberated for 10 hours.
Video went viral last May of now-former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd‘s neck for over nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed in a Minneapolis parking lot. Derek Chauvin and three other officers were fired days after the incident occurred. Floyd died on Monday, May 25. By Friday of that week protests and riots began, and lasted throughout the summer across the US.
Chauvin’s lawyers had argued that the former police officer acted within reason during the arrest of George Floyd, claiming that Chauvin’s actions were in line with Minneapolis Police policies and that there was reasonable doubt as to whether or not Chauvin’s actions directly led to the death of Floyd. They said that the aggression Chauvin showed only came after Floyd had resisted arrest.
The prosecution maintained that Chauvin acted with “cruelty and indifference,” causing Floyd’s death. Nearly 40 witnesses were called to the stand over three weeks. Chauvin was not one of those witnesses, as he and his attorneys determined that he should not take the stand, invoking his 5th amendment rights.
Officers were called to the scene by a nearby shop employee who said Floyd was trying to pass a counterfeit bill.
Chauvin had initially agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder, though it was quashed by then-US attorney general William Barr who believed the plea would be seen as too lenient.
On Tuesday morning, President Biden made the unprecedented move of commenting on the trial, saying that he praying that the verdict is the “right verdict, which is I think it’s overwhelming in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that.”
About 3,000 National Guard troops were deployed to Minneapolis in advance of the verdict, and Maxine Waters demanded that protestors continue their action in the event that Chauvin is not convicted of murder.
The scene outside the courthouse was one of anxious anticipation, as crowds gathered to in advance of the verdict. Activists remained outside the courthouse for the duration of the trial.
Chauvin was removed from the courtroom in custody to await sentencing in jail in 8 weeks.