Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who last year sparked protests across the world, following his callous murder of George Floyd has been found guilty on all charges.
A 12-member jury took just over 10 hours of deliberations, to find 45-year-old Chauvin guilty of all three charges that he was facing. The jury found Chauvin guilty on the charges of:
This comes after the jury heard 3 weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses presented by both the prosecution and the defence.
After the verdict was delivered, Chauvin was handcuffed and remanded in custody to await sentencing in eight weeks. He faces up to 40 years in prison on a second-degree murder charge and up to 25 years in prison for third-degree murder. Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum of 10 years.
The presumptive sentence for each murder charge is 12.5 years for a defendant like Chauvin, who has no prior criminal history, according to Minnesota’s state guidelines.
But the prosecution has asked for a stricter sentence for the former police officer due to several aggravating factors, including that the murder took place in front of children and that Floyd was treated with “particular cruelty” by Chauvin. The prosecution also said an extended sentence was necessary because the former officer “abused his position of authority.”
Trial judge Peter Cahill will now determine if aggravating factors exist and decide the length of prison sentence for Chauvin. In Minnesota, defendants serve about two-thirds of their prison sentences with the rest on parole.
Chauvin became the subject of national and international fury last May when footage emerged of him kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd begged him to stop. Floyd repeatedly said “I can’t breathe“, “Mama”, and “please”. Despite the pleas, Chauvin did not remove his knee, resulting in the death of Floyd.
Security camera footage from a nearby business did not show Floyd resisting the arrest. During the final two minutes, Floyd was motionless and had no pulse.
Chauvin and the other officers involved were fired the day following the incident from the Minneapolis Police Department. Chauvin had worked at the department since 2001.
Amid national protests, Chauvin was arrested and eventually charged with second-degree murder.
Three fellow officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, fired from the Minneapolis police department along with Chauvin the next day were each charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Aiding and abetting second-degree murder carries the same maximum punishment as the underlying offence – 40 years in prison.
However, despite the decision, trial judge Peter Cahill previously said comments from Democrat congresswoman Maxine Waters could see the whole trial overturned on appeal. She had encouraged protesters to get “more confrontational” if Mr Chauvin was not found guilty.