Jury convicts Chauvin of murdering George Floyd
JUDGE PETER CAHILL: “We the jury in the above, entitled matter as to Count 1, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty.”Less than 24 hours after the jury began its deliberations, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges on Tuesday in the deadly arrest of George Floyd, a verdict seen as a rebuke of law enforcement’s treatment of Black Americans and a milestone in the fraught racial history of the United States.CAHILL: “Are these your verdicts so say you one, so say you all?”JURY: “Yes.”Chauvin was led away in handcuffs, after being convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.A crowd of several hundred people that had gathered outside a fortified Hennepin County Courthouse erupted in cheers when the verdict was announced.At the intersection where Floyd was killed, people applauded and wept. The Cup Foods grocery store – where Floyd was accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes – has since become a rallying point for racial justice protests.The jury considered three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders and medical experts, along with extensive video of Floyd’s death from multiple angles.PROSECUTOR JERRY BLACKWELL: “You can believe your eyes, ladies and gentlemen.”The prosecution relied heavily on the viral bystander video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes, which sparked nationwide protests last summer. DEFENSE ATTORNEY ERIC NELSON: “You must look at the totality of the circumstances.”The defense argued that the video didn’t tell the whole story.NELSON: “You can’t limit it to 9 minutes and 29 seconds.”Chauvin’s lead lawyer said he behaved as any “reasonable police officer” would, and argued there were other factors that contributed to Floyd’s death, including heart disease, his drug use and even raised the possibility that exhaust fumes from the nearby squad car played a role. But the state’s multiple medical experts, including forensic pathologists, all said Floyd’s death was homicide, and even a medical expert called by the defense said Chauvin should have at least given Floyd immediate first aid.RETIRED MEDICAL EXAMINER DAVID FOWLER: “As a physician, I would agree.”The 45-year-old, who chose not to testify in his own defense, faces 12-1/2 years in prison for his murder conviction as a first-time criminal offender. But prosecutors could seek a longer sentence up to the maximum of 40 years if the judge determines that there were “aggravating factors.” The three other Minneapolis former police officers are due to face trial later this year on aiding-and-abetting charges in Floyd’s death.