Minneapolis jury finally reached a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, charged with killing George Floyd after he knelt on his neck for over 9 minutes.
Chauvin was found guilty on all counts Tuesday, April 20, for his involvement in George Floyd’s death, a verdict that could send the disgraced former Minneapolis police officer to prison for the rest of his life. The judge announced that Chauvin was convicted of second and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. He faces up to 75 years in prison when he returns for sentencing in eight weeks.
Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. Third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. Second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years.
The third-degree murder charge had initially been dismissed, but it was reinstated after an appeals court ruling in an unrelated case established new grounds for it days before jury selection started. Jury selection for the trial began March 9, and opening statements began March 29. The panel of seven women and five men began deliberating Monday evening, April 19, after three weeks of witness testimony.
Prosecutors called 38 witnesses, including the teenager who recorded the viral video that brought global attention to Floyd’s death. She and other bystanders who testified said they are haunted by Floyd’s death and that they wish they had done more to try to save his life. The defense called seven witnesses, two of whom were experts.
Derek Chauvin has been remanded in the custody of the Hennepin County Sheriff. He was directed out of the courtroom in handcuffs moments after the guilty verdict was read in his murder case.
Meanwhile, outside the Minneapolis courthouse where Judge Peter Cahill announced a guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s murder case, a crowd screamed joyfully.
The crowd has shouted “Guilty!” once news emerged. There have been huge cheers, with people shouting “Yes!”
People have been screaming and crying outside the courtroom.
“Whose victory? Our victory” the crowd has chanted. Cars driving by also honked their horns in celebration.
“Don’t let anyone tell you protest doesn’t work,” a man told the crowd through a bullhorn.
The attorneys for George Floyd’s family have released statements following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Attorney Ben Crump commented: “Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”
“Today’s verdict is so critical in that it not only holds Derek Chauvin accountable for his horrific actions, but it reinforces significant police reforms underway in Minneapolis including use-of-force reporting, a requirement to keep body-worn cameras on, and a policy for officers to de-escalate non-threatening encounters by disengaging or walking away. Now we call on Minnesota state lawmakers to pass,” said attorney Antonio M. Romanucci.
Attorney L. Chris Stewart said: “Today the world had its hope and faith restored in the American justice system. All that people crave is accountability when an officer kills a Black American. For far too long that had never happened. Now George Floyd’s soul can finally rest in peace. Justice has been served.”
Lawyer Jeff Storms similarly stated: “The impact of George Floyd’s death on Minneapolis is impossible to explain, but today’s verdict is an important step toward healing. The community here has struggled to create accountability for officers who have used excessive force over many years and too many lives and caused so much pain and suffering. This jury has sent a clear and direct message that this can never happen again.”