Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted April 20 of all charges in the death of George Floyd. Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict in Hennepin County court in Minneapolis, finding Chauvin guilty on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter.
After 10 hours of deliberating over the course of two days, the jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 2020 death. Chauvin has been out on bail since last fall and was taken into custody pending sentencing in eight weeks. He faces up to 75 years in prison.
Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentencing of 40 years and the maximum sentencing for third-degree murder is 25 years. Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum sentencing of 10 years.
Chauvin, who is white, was seen on video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck outside a convenience store for over nine minutes after police responded to a false report that Floyd, a Black man, had used a counterfeit bill. During the hearing, police procedure experts and the Minneapolis Police department said Chauvin’s use of force was excessive and went against his training.
George Floyd’s death sparked mass protests for racial justice across the country in the summer of 2020, and forced institutions and individuals alike to reckon with America’s institutionalized racism. By some estimates, they amounted to the largest protest movement in U.S. history.
Chauvin’s trial has received extensive media coverage, with advocates hoping its verdict would bring justice for Floyd and provide accountability for instances of violence and racism perpetrated by police officers.
Juries in the U.S. have a history of declining to convict police officers accused of murder while on duty. In some cases, highly publicized police shootings haven’t led to any criminal charges.
There were no charges filed against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown in 2014, leading to a wave of protest that provided momentum for the global Black Lives Matter movement. Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Eric Garner the same year in New York City, was also not indicted.
USC’s Counseling and Mental Health Services announced that they would be “holding space for students to discuss how recent events regarding race and racism may be affecting their wellbeing.” There will be sessions on April 22 at 3 p.m. and April 24 at 12 noon.