Derek Chauvin former Minneapolis police officer on Tuesday was found guilty of murder in the death George Floyd during an arrest last year 25 May 2020.
The citizen crowded outside the courthouse as the judge announced that jurors found Chauvin, 45, guilty on all three charges second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He faces up to 40 years behind bars on the top charge as stated.
Derek Chauvin wearing a light gray suit, white shirt and blue tie showed little emotion as the verdict was read, and as he was lead out of the courtroom in cuffs and into custody of sheriff.
Jurors deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before reaching a verdict in the closely watched case stemming from Floyd’s May 25, 2020, death which kicked off worldwide protests against police brutality, abuse of rule of engagement(R O E) and racial injustice.
The case was presided by 12-member jury consisted of three black men, one black woman, two white men, four white women, and two women who identify as interracial.
The world, Minnesota city and the entire country was on edge in anticipation of the verdict, with heightened security in place preparing for a renewal of the violent protests that marred the city after video of Floyd’s death became public on all the news platform.
Hundreds gathered outside the Minneapolis courthouse on Tuesday prior to the announcement of the verdict, calling for justice and to bring the culprit to order.
Forty-five witnesses were called to the stand over nearly three weeks of testimony in Hennepin County District Court 38 of them brought to the stand by state prosecutors.
The four-member prosecution team, led by Assistant State Attorney General Matthew Frank, focused repeatedly on viral video footage of Floyd’s death, which included Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds before he gave up to ghost.
Prosecutors contend that Floyd died of asphyxiation as a result of the restraint, with Chauvin seen keeping his knee on his neck even after paramedics arrived at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue and found Floyd had no pulse.
That day, his badge wasn’t in the right place, Schleicher said. He knew better. He just didn’t do better. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said during closing arguments on Monday that Chauvin “betrayed his badge.” This was not an accident.”
But Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson hinged his case on three assertions: that Floyd died due to drug use and a heart ailment; that an unruly crowd of bystanders posed a threat and distracted the cop; and that Chauvin followed his training in using the restraint.
He said in his closings that viral video of Floyd’s death, which shows his client with his knee on Floyd’s neck, doesn’t tell the entire story.
“Throughout the course of this trial, the state has focused your attention on 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” Nelson told the jury. “The proper analysis is to take those 9 minutes and 29 seconds and put it into the context of the totality of the circumstances that a reasonable police officer would know.”
The two sides presented contradicting testimony from medical experts on Floyd’s cause of death and the results of his autopsy which was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County medical examiner.
The medical examiner testified that neck compression killed him, although Floyd had several underlying conditions that contributed to his death.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin violated department policy and training during the fatal encounter.
On the final day of trial, Chauvin told the judge he would not testify in his own defense and instead invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
The trial took place under heavy security and barricades placed outside the courthouse in anticipation of unrest stemming from the verdict. Police in cities throughout the US, including the Big Apple, were also prepared for potential violence following the verdict although it was peaceful.