In the most high profile case of a black death (of George Floyd) at the hands of a white American (Derek Chauvin), the jury has found the former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 outside of a local convenience store in Minnesota, USA.
A jury of six white, four Black and two multiracial jurors was put together in early March before the trial began. The jurors deliberated for nine hours over two days — five hours on Monday; four hours Tuesday — before delivering the guilty on all charges verdict.
Chauvin faces a 40-year maximum sentence for the second-degree unintentional murder conviction, a 25-year sentence for third-degree murder and a 10-year sentence for second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin’s bail was immediately revoked, and his sentencing will be in eight weeks.
The video that showed Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for about 9 minutes and 29 seconds, became a catalyst for global racial and social justice movement in 2020.
Giving instructions to the jury, the judge, Justice Peter Cahill told them to decide on the facts of the case, and ignore any commentary by the judge himself or the lawyers representing either side.
“It is your duty to decide the questions of fact in this case. It is my duty to give you the rules of law you must apply in arriving at your verdict”, the judge told the jurors before they retired to consider their verdict.
“Deciding questions of fact is your exclusive responsibility”, Justice Cahill continued. “I have not by these instructions, nor by any ruling or expression during the trial, intended to indicate my opinion regarding the facts or the outcome of this case. If I have said or done anything that would seem to indicate such an opinion, you are to disregard it.”
The law required the jurors to reach a unanimous verdict on each charge to convict or acquit. A single juror disagreeing or holding-out would have resulted in a mistrial, which could have seen the state conducting another trial to prosecute Derek Chauvin.
After nine hours of deliberations, the jury unanimously found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges – unintentional murder of second degree, murder of third degree and second degree manslaughter.
As the judge read out the verdict, the defendant Derek Chauvin looked baffled and shocked to hear him being found guilty on all charges.
This has been by far the most high-profile case in America in decades which saw Black leader Jesse Jackson getting personally involved and interested in getting justice for Black Americans.
Unsurprisingly, crowds outside the court cheered with joy on hearing the verdict.