After over 10 hours of deliberation across 2 days, a jury has unanimously found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges in the murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.
Within minutes of court coming back into session, Judge Peter Cahill read the jury’s verdict aloud. Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, and he was found guilty on all three counts. The verdict came after 16 days of testimony, where 45 witnesses were called to the stand between both the prosecution and defense.
According to CNN, Chauvin could face a maximum of 40 years in prison for second-degree unintentional murder, 25 years for third-degree murder, and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter, as well as a $20,000 fine. Following the verdict, Judge Cahill granted a request by the prosecution that Chauvin’s bail be revoked and that he be taken into custody.
It’s sad that this all feels so surprising. Even after seeing the video of George Floyd’s murder, watching the trial, seeing the overwhelming amount of evidence presented against Chauvin, there has consistently been this feeling that nothing was going to happen. I’m sure you probably felt that way too.
Sure, it felt different this time. It wasn’t just us in the streets after Floyd died; it was everyone. George Floyd’s face was being painted on murals across the world; the man became a symbol, but so did Rodney King, Eric Garner, and Philando Castile, and we saw what good that did them.
While this is a relief, there isn’t much to celebrate here. A man died for no reason, and this trial showed that George Floyd was a man who had people that loved him and continue to grieve for him, and even with this verdict, they still have to grapple with that loss every day.
The family of George Floyd released a statement to the press shortly after the 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,” the statement read.
While today’s verdict saw the man most obviously responsible for Floyd’s death face justice, the three other officers involved in Floyd’s death are still awaiting trial.