The verdict is in: Minneapolis former Police Officer Derek Chauvin is guilty on all charges: Unintentional second-degree murder, guilty, third-degree murder, second degree manslaughter.
The announcement was made at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. in the trial for the charges against Chauvin for the May 2020 death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man whose neck Chauvin pinned down with his knee on the pavement of a south Minneapolis intersection for more than nine minutes during an arrest.
Floyd, who had a long history of drug abuse and violence against women, died as a result, the jury decided. A video of the apprehension shows Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck, in what was said to have cut off the man’s air flow as police attempted to contain him. Floyd was high on drugs at the time of his death.
Politico reported “It was an act of police violence so searing that it set off a nationwide racial reckoning nearly one year ago.”
President Biden, speaking from the White House this morning, said, “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view,” clear direction from the highest office to convict. He did not call for peace in the streets, and neither did Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who encouraged protesters and rioters to up their game and “get more confrontational” if the verdict went the other way.
National Guard troops had headed to downtown Minneapolis before the verdict was read. At the Capitol in Denver, Colo., lawmakers left the building and all cars had been moved from the parking lot nearby. In Los Angeles, law enforcement is on alert in anticipation of widespread rioting. In the nation’s capital, police helicopters took to the air.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told potential looters: “Don’t test us because we are ready.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency.
Sentencing will be in eight weeks, the judge said. He could spend up to 40 years in jail. At the end of the hearing, bail was revoked, and Chauvin was taken into custody in handcuffs. His legal team is expected to appeal immediately.