In a historic case regarding police violence against the black community the jury at Midwestern city of Minneapolis found Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd under two charges: unintentional murder and manslaughter.
The jury’s decision is considered by experts as a new dawn that would bring mindful policing where officers will be held accountable. Moreover, the analysts and American people also believe that the police officers will be under necessary scrutiny and they would act under the fear of being prosecuted or convicted. For the masses that have been protesting day and night on the streets of several American cities, the decision meant that the American judicial system still works.
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
46-year-old George Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after he was arrested on suspicion by Derek Chauvin. As he was arrested, Floyd panicked and pleaded to Chauvin that he was claustrophobic. However, Chauvin in a racially intended move, asserted his superiority over Floyd and put him on the ground.
Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of all murder and manslaughter charges for the killing of George Floyd. He will face a maximum 75 years in prison. pic.twitter.com/IXq50gNkpX
— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) April 20, 2021
Then the officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd was heard screaming “I can’t breathe” by onlookers who had started recording the whole ordeal. Floyd was left struggling for air for more than 9 minutes as Chauvin continued exerting his force on his neck. By the end, Floyd was seen in the video to have gone silent and limp.
Floyd’s death ignited massive protests held by Black community that turned into violent lootings later.
The Trial of Derek Chauvin
The multiracial jury in the trial consisted of 6 white people and 6 multiracial ones. The trial was spread out in 2 days where the jurors took just 10 hours to come with a consensus in their decision. Officer Chauvin was charged guilty on all the charges imposed on him: a second-degree unintentional murder charge, a third-degree murder charge, and a second-degree manslaughter charge.
Opening statement by George Floyd’s Prosecution
In its opening statement, the prosecution played the footage of Floyd’s death and said, “Believe your eyes” to the jury. The prosecution then made sure that the jury saw the video over and over, frame-by-frame, so that the jury understood the gravity of the situation even further.
Meanwhile, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defence attorney brought a police expert and a forensic pathologist. In his defence, Nelson claimed that Chauvin’s action was reasonable against a suspect that was struggling. He also showed the report which said that Floyd had an enlarged heart and methamphetamine (illegal drug) was found in his blood.
Meanwhile, the prosecution brought several people close to Floyd who gave emptional testimony. The prosecution also brought some on-lookers who witnessed the act. The pivotal witness was Darnella Frazier, the woman who shot the video. In her testimony, she claimed that Chauvin gave the bystanders a “heartless” stare as he had his knees on Floyd’s neck.
What happens next to Derek Chauvin?
Although people from across the world who sought justice were jubilant after the verdict came out, it’s going to take 8 more weeks before the Judge gives sentence to Chauvin. This 8-week window will give Chauvin ample time to consider his options.
Under the Minnesota jurisdiction, the minimum sentence is for 12.5 years for the most serious offence. However, the three charges on which Chauvin was found guilty of have different maximum sentences.
The Second-Degree Murder sentence – has a maximum punishment of 40 years. The third-degree murder, which means a recklessness of human life while being in a “depraved mindset” that leads one to do something “eminently dangerous” resulting in death, carries a punishment of 25 years.
The third charge, which is manslaughter in second degree, carries a penalty of maximum 10 years. The charge implies negligently creating risk and consciously taking chances in killing or harming another person.