Derek Chauvin found guilty on all counts in murder of George Floyd

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd.

The verdict was made in Hennepin County Court on Tuesday after about 10 hours of deliberations, following three weeks of testimony and deliberation from the jury.

A total of 38 witnesses were called to testify, including medical specialists and use-of-force experts.

The defense had seven of its own witnesses, though Chauvin invoked the Fifth Amendment and chose not to testify himself. Legal analysts say testifying would have opened Chauvin up to having to answer difficult questions from the prosecution, including what was going through his mind during every moment of the nine minutes and 29 seconds he was kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.

Prosecutors said Chauvin, 46, killed Floyd after a dismissal of common sense and police policy. They spent weeks laying out their case against Chauvin, including testimony from Minneapolis’ police chief, who condemned Chauvin’s actions and testified it violated department policy.

“Once there was no longer any resistance and clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back — that in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy,” Chief Medaria Arradondo testified. “It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

Testimony also included comments from Chauvin’s direct supervisor and the department’s top homicide detective, both of whom called the length of the restraint unnecessary, saying Chauvin should have stopped when Floyd stopped resisting and said he couldn’t breathe. The department’s use of force instructor testified that officers are trained to “stay away from the neck when possible.”

Prosecutors broke down the time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, noting he kept Floyd in the restraint for four minutes and 45 seconds as he cried out for help, 53 seconds as he suffered a seizure, and three minutes and 51 seconds as Floyd was motionless and unresponsive.

The defense argued Chauvin acted reasonably and said the 46-year-old Floyd’s death was caused by heart problems and illegal drug use. A third-party medical expert called by the defense testified he felt Floyd died from a combination of heart disease and fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as possible exposure to carbon monoxide from the squad car’s exhaust.

The Hennepin County medical examiner disagreed, testifying that Floyd’s cause of death was a lack of oxygen from asphyxiation. The medical examiner’s official cause of Floyd’s death was listed as homicide.

Chauvin faced charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

Following closing arguments, Chauvin’s defense team filed a motion for mistrial, saying the jury was influenced by media reports about the trial and citing comments by Rep. Maxine Waters, who said protesters should become more confrontational if Chauvin was acquitted. The judge dismissed the motion, but did condemn Rep. Waters’ comments, calling them “abhorrent” and saying the congresswoman’s comments may lead to the verdict being appealed.

The verdict comes nearly 11 months after Floyd’s death, which was recorded by a bystander and posted online, where the video quickly went viral and ignited protests throughout the world calling for police reform and Black equality.

In downtown Madison, peaceful protests were followed by unrest and clashes with police, including authorities using pepper spray and tear gas to try to disperse crowds.

Local officials stood by First Amendment rights to protest and gather peacefully, but condemned property damage that saw dozens of broken windows at businesses on State Street and the Capitol Square. Several businesses boarded up their windows in the days and weeks that followed, with the city supporting the painting of murals promoting equality, justice and police reform on the plywood.