Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
George Floyd's murder in May 2020 shocked the American population. The horrific video of his last moments ignited a fire in the hearts of the public and persuaded them to fight against police brutality and oppression. The most awaited verdict in Floyd's murder boosted their spirits. Moreover, it asserted that every life mattered.
BREAKING: Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin is convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd. He faces up to 40 years in prison for second degree murder, up to 25 years for third degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. (CNN) pic.twitter.com/nnHhwKldj7— Negar Mortazavi (@NegarMortazavi) April 20, 2021
According to People, former cop Derek Chauvin, accused of killing Floyd, was found guilty of all charges on April 20, 2021. The verdict was passed by a panel of five men and seven women, consisting of four black, six white, and two biracial members.
Consequently, Chauvin, who was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter, will be sentenced in eight weeks. Following the verdict, the prosecution played the viral video that captured Floyd's last moments. The helpless man cried and begged Chauvin to loosen the grip on him. Despite gasping, "I can't breathe," the ex-officer did not empathize with him.
Guilty of all three charges. Justice. https://t.co/yV6XrsYwUR— shockley (@Shockley7Aaron) April 20, 2021
"Ultimately, it isn't really that complicated. You can believe your eyes," said prosecutor Jerry Blackwell in court.
Over the course of the trial that began on March 29, 2021, the courtroom saw witnesses testifying accounts with tears, grief, and sorrow. 61-year-old George McMillian, who was one of the eyewitnesses, stated that he approached Chauvin after Floyd's body was taken away by the paramedics. He recalled that he told the former cop the way he restrained Floyd was not right.
Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder in George Floyd's death. What else was he convicted of? https://t.co/BrPT6e7mEj— Daily Round Up (@DailyRoundUp1) April 21, 2021
Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, also testified against Chauvin. He stated, "Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped." He added, "There is an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds. But once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back -- that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy."
Meanwhile, the defense attorney claimed Chauvin's force was not the reason for Floyd's death. Attorney Eric Nelson stated that the victim's underlying health conditions and drug abuse contributed to his death. He argued, "The standard is not what should the officer have done in these circumstances. It's not what could the officer have done differently under these circumstances. The standard is what were the facts that were known to this officer at the precise moment he used force … and what would a reasonable police officer have done."
He continued, "There is absolutely no evidence that officer Chauvin intentionally, purposefully applied unlawful force."
He also asked the members of the jury to focus on the first 17 minutes of the viral video that showed Floyd resisting the officers and claiming he suffered from claustrophobia.
However, the efforts of the defense to convince the jurors were not successful. "Facing George Floyd that day did not require one ounce of courage. All that was required was a little compassion, and none was shown," said Prosecutor Steve Schleicher. He added, "What the defendant did to George Floyd killed him. What the defendant did was not policing. What the defendant did was an assault. He betrayed the badge."
RT @CBSNews: BREAKING: Derek Chauvin found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter https://t.co/GrL35oXka1 pic.twitter.com/4qi49NYeWa— Dez 💙💜💛 (@Dezalynn1) April 20, 2021
The verdict of the jurors was very well received by the public and the members of Floyd's family. According to The Washington Post, one of Floyd’s younger brothers, Philonise, said, "Today, we are able to breathe again." Another brother claimed, "I will miss him, but now I know he’s in history,” he said. “What a day to be a Floyd, man."
Besides Chauvin, three other ex-officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao were also charged in Floyd's killing. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial this summer.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photos by (L) Stephen Maturen, (R) Ramsey County Sheriff's Office