Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, the explosive case that triggered worldwide protests, violence, and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
The jury reached its verdict Tuesday after deliberating about 10 hours over two days in a city on edge against another outbreak of unrest.
Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes
Prosecutors argued that Chauvin squeezed the life out of Floyd last May when the white officer knelt on or near the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes. The defense contended that the now-fired white officer acted reasonably and that a heart condition and illegal drug use led to Floyd’s death.
The jury of six white people and six people who are Black or multiracial spent just a few hours on their task Monday after the day was mostly consumed by closing arguments. They will remain sequestered until verdicts are reached.
As the racially diverse jury — anonymous and sequestered from the outside world — deliberated, lawmakers and fellow citizens alike delivered their own opinions about the combustible case that triggered protests, scattered violence, and a reckoning over racism in the U.S.
“It shouldn’t be really even questioned whether there will be an acquittal or a verdict that doesn’t meet the scale of the crime that was committed,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, said in Brooklyn Center, a suburb just outside Minneapolis. The congresswoman said the Chauvin case looks open-and-shut.
Guilty verdicts could mark a turning point in the fight for racial equality, she said.
“We are holding on to one another for support. Hopefully, this verdict will come soon and the community will start the process of healing,” Omar said.
In Washington, the president said that he had spoken to Floyd’s family on Monday and “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” Biden said. “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
The president has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s death but previously stopped short of commenting on the trial itself.
Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after the office gathered enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. His defense attorney, Courteney Ross, had repeatedly called the bystanders at Floyd’s arrest a “crowd” and “unruly” and suggested there were more people present than seen on camera. He drilled a fire department captain on taking 17 minutes to reach the scene when an ambulance called first arrived much sooner. And he persistently suggested Chauvin’s knee wasn’t on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds as prosecutors have argued — suggesting instead it was across Floyd’s back, shoulder blades, and arm.
Nelson, 46, handles cases ranging from drunken driving arrests to homicides and is one of a dozen attorneys who take turns working with a police union legal defense fund to represent officers charged with crimes. One of his bigger cases involved Amy Senser, the wife of Joe Senser, a former Minnesota Vikings tight end, who was convicted in a 2011 hit-and-run death.
Derek Chauvin jury reaches a verdict: Guilty