Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 28 seconds, ignoring pleas from Floyd that he couldn’t breathe, has been found guilty of his murder and manslaughter. After roughly 10 hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in a verdict read out in a Minnesota court on Tuesday, April 20.
- There was only one verdict that could have come back. Given that the murder was caught on video, there wasn’t much Chauvin could say to defend himself. While his defense team claimed that Floyd was a drug abuser and that his use of drugs was why he died, medical professionals and fellow officers alike disputed these claims so that there was only one option: to return a guilty verdict.
- Chauvin’s bail was immediately revoked. While it was initially thought that Chauvin could be allowed to leave the courtroom and return home while awaiting sentencing, which should take place in roughly 8 weeks, the prosecution requested that bail be revoked and for Chauvin to be remanded in custody, which the judge accepted. Chauvin will now remain behind bars while he awaits his sentence, which will hopefully be the maximum allowed for the crime.
- How much time could he spend behind bars? Second-degree murder carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison in Minnesota. In addition, third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and second-degree manslaughter carries up to a 10-year sentence. In other words, Chauvin could be in prison for the rest of his life. Here’s hoping!
- Hopefully, this case sets a precedent. The fact that a police officer actually got convicted for killing an unarmed citizen is a rarity and this should happen more often. For too long, the police, an institution that is meant to protect the people, have repeatedly harmed them, particularly people of color. While it’s unlikely that a single conviction will cause institutional change, it’s one small step into a massively needed reform that we’ll be fighting for for many years to come.