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Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in George Floyd’s death

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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all three charges he faced in the death of George Floyd.

The sequestered jury of six white people and six people who are Black or multiracial deliberated a total of ten-and-a-half hours before informing Judge Peter Cahill that they’d reached guilty verdicts on each of the three charges Chauvin faced in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

To secure convictions on the charges, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable.  The jury could have found Chauvin guilty of all of the charges, some of them, or none.

Chauvin faces a total of up to 40 years in prison, perhaps more, when sentenced, which Cahill said would likely happen in six to eight weeks.

Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020 while under arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis, Minnesota convenience store.  After handcuffing Floyd’s hands behind his back, Chauvin placed Floyd face-down on the ground and knelt on his neck for nine-and-a-half minutes, as Floyd repeatedly protested that he couldn’t breathe and then died.  Floyd’s death sparked protests across America and around the world and ignited the Black Lives Matter movement.

Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired the day after Floyd’s death.  Chauvin was arrested May 29 and ultimately charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with the third-degree murder charge reinstated just before Chauvin’s trial began.  The three other former officers who were at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and face trial later this year.

Both sides rested their cases on Thursday of last week, with Chauvin declining the opportunity to testify in his own defense.  His attorneys presented only two days of testimony, during which they called witnesses intended to show that Floyd’s drug use, heart disease and other factors are what caused his death.  The prosecution presented two weeks of testimony from witnesses, medical experts and use-of-force experts to press home their contention that Chauvin’s use of force was inappropriate and caused Floyd’s death.

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