WASHINGTON (AGENCIES) – A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin was charged in the May 25, 2020 arrest death of Floyd. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while Floyd was handcuffed on the ground, despite pleas from Floyd that he could not breathe.
Floyd allegedly used a $20 counterfeit bill to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods, a convenience store located on 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Bystander cellphone video of the incident went viral, drawing national and international attention to the Twin Cities.
Residents of the Twin Cities — as well as the nation — had awaited the verdict in the landmark case, which has forced a reckoning on issues of race and policing.
Extra security, including police and National Guard, are deployed around the Twin Cities to guard against potential unrest.
Adding to tensions, 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was Black, was shot and killed on April 11 by a white Brooklyn Center police officer, sparking more protests and arrests.
Testimony in Chauvin’s trial began on March 29, and the trial concluded Monday with closing arguments.
Prosecutors argued that Chauvin’s knee prevented Floyd from breathing properly, which led Floyd to die from asphyxia, or low oxygen. Prosecutors said Chauvin’s use of force was unauthorized and deadly, and told the jury to “believe your eyes” while watching video of the incident.
Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson countered, saying that Chauvin followed Minneapolis police policy and training when he restrained Floyd. Nelson also said Floyd’s underlying health conditions and recent drug use played a role in his death.
The jury deliberated for four hours on Monday, and began again at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The state has motioned to seek an aggravated sentence against Chauvin. The jury now will have to decide whether there are aggravating factors in the case.
The three other former Minneapolis officers charged in Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, will face a separate trial that is currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 23.
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