Derek Chauvin Has Been Found Guilty of Murdering George Floyd

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Trace William Cowen
·4 min read
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Image via Getty/Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

On Tuesday, a verdict was reached in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the now-former Minneapolis cop who was filmed fatally holding his knee to George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds on May 25, 2020.

Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts—second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The jury of seven women and five men entered the deliberation phase Monday, and took a total of 10 hours and 20 minutes to reach a decision. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict late Tuesday afternoon, and granted the prosecution’s request to revoke Chauvin’s bail.

“I have to thank you on behalf of the people of the state of Minnesota, for not only jury service, but heavy duty jury service,” the judge told the jury.

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Chauvin was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the court room immediately after the verdict was read. Cahill said the former officer’s sentencing hearing will take place “eight weeks from now.” Chauvin is facing a maximum sentence of 40 years for second-degree murder, a maximum sentence of 25 years for third-degree murder, and a maximum sentence of 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. Because the charges are for the same crime, Chauvin will likely serve his sentences concurrently rather than consecutively.

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd’s family, released the following statement in response to Tuesday’s verdict:

Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world. 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. We thank Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team for their fierce dedication to justice for George. But it does not end here. We have not forgotten that the other three officers who played their own roles in the death of George Floyd must still be held accountable for their actions, as well.”

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The trial spanned more than two weeks, with closing arguments being delivered on Monday, April 19. During a moment from the prosecution’s rebuttal to the defense’s closing argument, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell urged jurors to realize they already knew “the truth” about what happened last May.

“You were told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big,” Blackwell said Monday. “You heard that testimony and now—having seen all of the evidence, having heard all of the evidence—you know the truth. And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”

Among those called to the stand by the defense during the trial was retired pathologist Dr. David Fowler, an ex-chief medical examiner in Maryland who’s currently at the center of a lawsuit alleging he participated in a police cover-up about the 2018 death of 19-year-old Anton Black, who died in police custody.

President Joe Biden, who was previously confirmed to have spoken on the phone with Floyd’s family, said on Tuesday ahead of the announcement of the jury’s decision that he was “praying the verdict is the right verdict.” Biden is also expected to make a formal statement shortly.

“I think it’s overwhelming, in my view,” Biden said the day after closing arguments were delivered, per the Associated Press. “I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”

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