Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd

Minneapolis, Minnesota – The jury announced the verdict in ex-police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial and found the defendant to be guilty on all counts.

Toshira Garraway (2nd from l.), founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence , and Courtney Ross (3rd from l.), Floyd's girlfriend surrounded by media as jury reaches verdict in Floyd death.
Toshira Garraway (2nd from l.), founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence , and Courtney Ross (3rd from l.), Floyd's girlfriend surrounded by media as jury reaches verdict in Floyd death.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

It took just over one day of deliberation for the jury to return their verdict that found Derek Chauvin (46) guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, guilty of third-degree murder, and guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in June 2020.

Judge Peter A. Cahill announced sentencing would take place in eight weeks, then revoked Chauvin's bail, discharged his bond, and ordered the former police officer into the custody of the county sheriff.

Following the verdict, attorney Ben Crump who represents Floyd's family, released a statement calling the justice that was served "painfully earned".

He continued, "This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state".

The trial against Chauvin for lasted 11 days and saw 38 witnesses take the stand to share their account of events alongside video evidence from the scene.

Prosecution and defense go head-to-head

A portrait of George Floyd carried by protesters in Minnesota.
A portrait of George Floyd carried by protesters in Minnesota.  © IMAGO / MediaPunch

Throughout the trial, the defense attempted to link Floyd's death to his drug use, and defended Chauvin's use of force based on the 17 minutes of resistance he argued happened prior to forcing the victim to the ground, where he would be pronounced dead nearly ten minutes later.

In his closing remarks, the state's prosecutor Steve Schleicher reminding the jury of the harrowing scenes and testimony they had seen and heard throughout the course of the trial.

Schleicher argued that Chauvin knew exactly what he was doing and that his ego got the best of him in a murderous power trip. Despite bystanders pleading with him to get off of Floyd's neck, he didn't flinch or bat an eye.

"He was not going to let these bystanders tell him what to do. He was going to do what he wanted, how he wanted, for as long as he wanted. And there was nothing, nothing they can do about it because he had the authority," Schleichter said.

Eleven videos were played for the jury and those watching at home, highlighting different perspectives of the incident, yet the defendants attorney Eric Nelson still argued that his client couldn't be found guilty of a crime because he was simply following police procedure. Chauvin's former boss, Minnesota Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, disagreed in his damning testimony for the prosecution.

The news of Floyd's death led to the biggest protests movement in generations. Protests all over the country were often met with more violence from law enforcement officers decked out in riot gear, which points to the long road ahead in police reform.

President Joe Biden called George Floyd's family after the verdict was announced and promised to "get a lot more done," before passing the phone on to Vice President Harris, who praised the family for their courage and strength.

One phrase Biden returned to several times during the call belongs to Gianna Floyd, George's 7-year-old daughter: "Daddy's gonna change the world."

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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