A United States jury found Derek Chauvin, the former police officer, guilty of murdering George Floyd, an African-American Black man on a Minneapolis street last year. The forty-five-year-old Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds during his arrest in May 2020. Moreover, the filmed video of the incident sparked global protests against excessive use of force by police and racism.
Derek Chauvin wasn’t convicted for the murder of George Floyd because racism is over or because the justice system now works. It happened because the establishment feared the consequences of protecting their own, this time.
Keep fighting. Protest works. #BLM #GeorgeFloydTrial
— Ed Poole 🟨🟥💙🟠⬆️ (@edwardpoole1975) April 21, 2021
The jury found Chauvin guilty on three charges: manslaughter, third-degree murder, and second-degree murder. In addition, the bail of the former officer instantly revoked and placed in police custody. Whereas his sentencing will probably happen in two months, and the convicted officer could spend decades in jail. On the other hand, he expected to appeal against the verdict.
Usually, police officers convicted rarely – if they faced charges at all – for deaths that occur in police custody, and the verdict in this current trial widely seen as a sign of how the United States legal system will handle such cases in the future. Furthermore, three other police officers are due to face court trial this year on aiding-and-abetting charges.
Reaction after the Conviction
The twelve-member jury took under one day to reach their verdict after a highly charged, three-week trial that left Minneapolis on headlines. Many people highly praised the court after the announcement of the judgment. Ben Crump, the Floyd family’s lawyer, said that it marked a defining moment in the history of the United States. He tweeted that painfully earned justice for Floyd’s family finally arrived. Furthermore, it sends a loud message on the need for accountability of law enforcement officers.
GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 20, 2021
Joe Biden, the President of the United States, and Kamala Harris, the U.S. Vice President, called the family of late Floyd after the announcement of the verdict from the jury. He said at least now there is some justice in the country. Moreover, in nationally televised comments shortly afterward, Biden said that Systemic discrimination is a strain on the soul of the whole nation.
Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The verdict is a step forward.
And while nothing can ever bring George Floyd back, this can be a giant step forward on the march towards justice in America.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 20, 2021
On the other side, Harris urged representatives to pass the Floyd bill intended to reform policing in the country. Likewise, the Minneapolis police federation, a non-profit organization, said that they respected the recent decision of the jury. The federation further adds that they also want to approach the community and still express deep remorse for their pain. There are no losers and winners in this case.
What Happened to Floyd?
The forty-six-year-old George Floyd bought a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store in South Minneapolis on 25th May 2020. The shopkeeper believed that he had used a fake $20 currency note; therefore, he called the police officers after Floyd refused to give the cigarettes pack back.
After the arrival of police, the officer ordered Floyd out of his parked vehicle and handcuffed him. Furthermore, a struggle followed when police officers tried to put a screaming George Floyd in their crew car.
The officers struggled him to the ground, and Chauvin kneed him on his neck for over nine minutes, as the suspect pleaded for his life several times. Likewise, the bystanders at the scene also requested the officer to release Floyd as he was shortening his breath.
Floyd said more than twenty times that he could not breathe, begging for his mother and saying please, please, please. Floyd was motionless when the ambulance arrived at the spot. About an hour later, the health team announced him dead.
What happened during Chauvin’s Trial?
During the trial of Derek Chauvin, the hurry heard from forty-five witnesses and saw many hours of video footage. Some of the strongest evidence came from eyewitnesses. Many of them broke down in tears as they watched graphic video footage of the sad incident, and afterward, they described feeling helpless as events unfolded.
George Floyd’s girlfriend and his younger sibling took a stand against the brutality of the police. On behalf of the state, expert witnesses testified that Floyd died due to the lack of oxygen. Derek Chauvin himself decided not to testify, begging for his right not to convict himself with his responses.
What ae the Charges on Chauvin?
Court convict charges of manslaughter are when somebody accidentally causes the death of another person. Whereas in second-degree murder, the killing of someone might be done intentionally or unintentionally. The maximum sentence for a second-degree charge is forty years in prison. However, third-degree murder means a person acted in a way that endangered one or more individuals, ending in death.
Twelve jurors saw the Chauvin case to decide if he would face time in jail or acquit. The Jury remained nameless and unseen during the whole trial, but its demographics tilted younger, whiter, and more female. After two sides closed their final arguments on Monday, the jury isolated in a hotel with not no external contact so they could deliberate on a verdict, a procedure known as sequestration.
Read Also: George Floyd’s family received a $27m settlement over his death