Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder on all three count charges

Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd in a trial that has captivated the United States.

The 12-person jury deliberated for about 10 hours before arriving at a unanimous verdict, finding Chauvin guilty on all three counts: second degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

The most serious of those charges carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, though Chauvin is unlikely to face such a long period in prison. The guidelines for an offender with no criminal record suggest a sentence of about 12.5 years.

The sentencing phase of the trial is still to come.

Chauvin was taken from the courtroom in handcuffs moments after the verdict was read. Meanwhile, Mr Floyd’s brother Philonise hugged the prosecutors.

Mr Floyd died in Minneapolis last year after a confrontation with police, who had responded to reports he’d used a fraudulent $US20 note to purchase cigarettes.

Bystanders filmed Chauvin kneeling on the unarmed African-American man’s neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds, a position he maintained despite Mr Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd
Ben Crump, one of the lawyers representing Mr Floyd’s family, released a statement calling the guilty verdict “painfully earned justice”.

Today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country, and even the world, Mr Crump said.
Justice for black America is justice for all of America. 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.

Another of the family’s lawyers, Jeff Storms, said the jury had sent “a clear and direct message that this can never happen again”.

As the verdict was read, a crowd that had gathered on the spot where Mr Floyd died erupted in cheers.

A separate crowd outside the courthouse also celebrated, chanting “all three counts”.

Minnesota Attorney-General Keith Ellison, who had overarching responsibility for the prosecution, delivered brief remarks.

I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice, he said.
Now the cause of justice is in your hands. And when I say your hands, I mean the people of the United States.
George Floyd mattered. His death shocked the conscience of our country. He was loved by his family and friends. He mattered because he was a human being.

Mr Ellison said the witnesses who filmed Mr Floyd’s death, and subsequently testified during the trial, had engaged in “simple yet profound acts of courage” by telling the world “the truth about what they saw”.

We say, all of us, thank you, he said on behalf of the prosecutors.


During yesterday’s closing arguments, prosecutor Steve Schleicher told the members of the jury to use their “common sense”, calling several of the defence team’s arguments “nonsense”.

Specifically, he dismissed the theory that Mr Floyd died because of drugs in his system or because of carbon monoxide from the tailpipe of the police car.

Use your common sense. Believe your eyes, Mr Schleicher said.
The state does not need to prove its case beyond all doubt, or beyond unreasonable doubt. An unreasonable doubt is a doubt not based on common sense, but on nonsense. You are not required to accept nonsense.

The defence has argued there was enough fentanyl in Mr Floyd’s system to kill him. Mr Schleicher said Mr Floyd’s history of drug use meant he had developed a high level of resistance, citing expert testimony.

The experts all agree that George Floyd did not die the way someone who dies from a fentanyl overdose dies, he said.
This looked nothing like a fentanyl overdose.

Mr Schleicher ran through each of the charges against Chauvin and the threshold for a guilty verdict, stressing that the prosecution did not need to prove there was intent to kill.

If you commit a certain level of assault, a felony level assault, and a person dies as a result of your assault, you’re guilty of murder. It’s as simple as that, he said.
What the defendant did here was a straight up felony assault. This was not policing. It was unnecessary, it was gratuitous, it was disproportionate, and he did it on purpose.
No question, this was not an accident. He did not trip and fall and find himself upon George Floyd’s neck. He did what he did on purpose, and it killed George Floyd.
He betrayed the badge and everything it stood for.

Mr Schleicher took issue with the defence’s claim that Mr Floyd was not complying with police when Chauvin held him down.

He went back to the start of the incident, when police found Mr Floyd sitting in a parked car. They had been called to deal with an allegation that Mr Floyd had paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 note.

Within seconds, (an officer) pulls his gun and holds it inches from George Floyd’s face, and starts shouting profanities. ‘Show me your f***ing hands.’ Screaming. This was within seconds, said the prosecutor.
They tell him to put his hands on the steering wheel, he does. That’s not resistance, that’s compliance. They tell him to get out of the car, he does. That’s not resistance, that’s compliance.
George Floyd was not a threat to anyone. He was not trying to hurt anyone.

A struggle ensued as police tried to put Mr Floyd in the back of a squad car, and he ended up on the ground.

Here is on his knees, he is not going anywhere. There are four officers, Mr Schleicher continued.
The reasonable officer, at that time, should have recognised he wasn’t trying to escape. He wasn’t trying to punch anyone or stab anyone.
It was over. He was on his knees. But what did they do? They took him from this position, handcuffed on his knees, they pushed him down on to the ground. For what?
Was George Floyd resisting when he was trying to breathe? No.

Summing up the prosecution’s case, he pointed out that Chauvin continued to hold Mr Floyd down with his knee even after another officer had found no pulse.

How can you justify the continued force on this man when he has no pulse? No pulse. Continued the restraint, continued grinding, twisting, crushing the life out of him. Past the point of finding no pulse, past the point when the ambulance arrives, he said.
What’s the goal? What are we trying to accomplish? This was a counterfeit $20 bill, allegedly. What is going on? Why hold him that long, past that point? Unreasonable force. Unreasonable. Not proportional. Excessive. It violated policy, it violated the law, it violated everything the police department stood for.
This was not a justified use of force. You cannot justify it. It’s impossible. Not if you apply the rules, not if you apply the standards officers swore to observe.
This wasn’t policing. This was murder. The defendant is guilty of all three counts.

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