The 12 jurors tasked with determining the fate of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd returned their verdict Tuesday on all three charges, and they found Chauvin guilty across the board.
Chauvin has officially been convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the deadly use of force that resulted in Floyd’s death and sparked a year of unrest.
Theoretically, Chauvin faces between 10 and 40 years in prison, with the second-degree charge carrying the heaviest weight. Judge Peter Cahill can impose an extended sentence due to the defendant’s abuse of governmental authority and for killing Floyd in the presence of a minor. The prosecution has said they intend to ask for the maximum sentencing, which Cahill is expected to hand down in the coming weeks.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson hinted Monday to an appeal if Chauvin was not acquitted, alleging prosecutorial misconduct and interference based on public comments made by elected officials.
Chauvin was one of several officers who responded to a report of an alleged counterfeit bill used at Cup Foods in Minneapolis by Floyd. When arrested, Floyd had what appeared to be a panic attack in the back seat of the patrol vehicle and he was ultimately cuffed, put face down in the prone position on the asphalt and three officers leaned on his body, with Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. None of the officers rendered him medical aid, even after he stopped talking, moving and was found without a pulse.
Floyd was later pronounced dead at the hospital after unsuccessful attempts to revive him.
Minnesota has been on alert in anticipation of the verdict and potential backlash with cyclone fencing surrounding the court and a heavy National Guard presence. In contrast to the worst-case scenario planned for, the mood in the streets is one of relief.