Derek Chauvin Found Guilty In George Floyd Murder Case

The verdict has been hailed a win for the global Black Lives Matter movement.

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The white cop who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine-and-a-half minutes has been found guilty of murder in Minneapolis today.

Former US police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter. The court read out the 12-person jury’s decision at 7AM AEST.

“Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis,” said the Floyd family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump.

“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 America.”

The verdict comes 11 months after Floyd’s death last year. On May 25, 2020 a convenience store employee called 911 after Floyd tried to pay for cigarettes with a counterfeit USD$20 note.

The 46-year-old’s death was captured on video and used as evidence. In the footage, Chauvin can be seen pressing down on Floyd’s neck with his knee, while Floyd was handcuffed.

The timing of Floyd’s asphyxiation was previously thought to be seven minutes and 46 seconds, and then famously eight minutes and 46 seconds. We now know Chauvin was on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Three additional officers at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao are expected to stand trial on August 23 this year.

Floyd’s death instigated protests around racially-motivated police brutality, and spearheaded a global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last year.

He was heard saying “I Can’t Breathe” more than 20 times during his detainment — a phrase that became a political slogan in the aftermath of his death. Floyd soon became unconscious before his heart stopped.

The defence argued that ongoing heart disease and drug use were the cause of Floyd’s death in the trial.

In his closing statement, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury that “the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr Chauvin’s heart was too small”, according to The Guardian.

Chauvin did not testify during the trial and pleaded the Fifth Amendment to remain silent. Floyd’s girlfriend, alongside the teenage store clerk who served him, and a bystander all took to the witness stand.

“It is not necessary for the State to prove the defendant had an intent to kill George Floyd. But it must prove that the defendant committed, or attempted to commit, the underlying felony,” Judge Peter Cahill had told the jury before their deliberation.

Judge Cahill sent the jurors to deliberate at 7AM AEST yesterday and stayed in a hotel overnight, CNN reported.

America was described as being “on edge” while the verdict was reached. Protestors gathered outside the courthouse throughout Chauvin’s case and preparations were made in the event of a riot if he was found not guilty.

Derek Chauvin will be sentenced in the next two months. He faces up to 40 years in jail, but will likely serve 12.5 years according to the New York Times.