MINNEAPOLIS — The jury has found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May.
Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The judge asked each juror if the verdict was correct, thanked them and dismissed them. “I have to thank you, on behalf of the people of the state of Minnesota, for not only jury service, but heavy-duty jury service,” Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said.
He revoked bail and told Chauvin to report back in eight weeks for sentencing. Chauvin, silent and wearing a gray suit and a light blue surgical mask, was handcuffed and taken into custody.
George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd was sitting with his head bowed and his hands folded in front of his face in prayer before the verdict was read. As each verdict was read, his hands increasingly shook and his head nodded up and down.
“I was just praying they would find him guilty. As an African American, we usually never get justice,” Floyd said.
Afterward, Floyd cried and hugged prosecutors, who shook hands with the Minnesota attorney general. One prosecutor wiped away tears.
Chauvin faces a recommended 150 months or 12 1/2 years in prison under sentencing guidelines for first-time offenders. But the prosecution is seeking a higher prison term due to “aggravating factors.” So he may face up to 30 years in prison though the judge may sentence him to less.
Here’s what to know about the charges:
Guilty: Second-degree murder charge
Second-degree murder is causing the death of a human being, without intent to cause that death, while committing or attempting to commit another felony. In this case, the felony was third-degree assault. Chauvin was charged with committing or intentionally aiding in the commission of this crime.
March 9 — The first potential jurors are questioned for Chauvin’s trial after a day’s delay for pretrial motions.
March 12 — Minneapolis agrees to pay $27 million settlement to Floyd family.
March 19 — Judge declines to delay or move the trial over concerns that the settlement could taint the jury pool.
March 23 — Jury selection completed with 12 jurors and three alternates.
March 29 — Opening statements are given.
April 11 — Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, is fatally shot by a white police officer during a traffic stop in suburban Brooklyn Center, sparking successive days of protest.
April 12 — Judge declines request to sequester Chauvin jury immediately due to Wright shooting.
April 15 — Testimony ends.
April 19 — Closing arguments. Jury begins deliberations.
April 20 – Jury convicts Chauvin on murder and manslaughter charges.
Guilty: Third-degree murder charge
Third-degree murder is unintentionally causing someone’s death by committing an act that is eminently dangerous to other persons while exhibiting a depraved mind, with reckless disregard for human life. Chauvin was accused of committing or intentionally aiding in the commission of this crime.
Under Minnesota law, an act that is eminently dangerous is one that “is highly likely to cause death,” Cahill told jurors. “The defendant’s act may not have been specifically intended to cause death,” and “it may not have been specifically directed at the person whose death occurred, but it must have been committed with a conscious indifference to the loss of life,” said the judge.
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Cahill ruled last fall that this charge did not fit the Chauvin case because the statute required a showing of danger to other persons. However, a Minnesota appeals court in February upheld the third-degree murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017. Noor’s actions were focused solely on Damond.
During jury selection in the Chauvin trial, the appeals court ruled that Cahill should not have dismissed this charge. He subsequently reinstated the allegation. The Minnesota Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal of the Noor decision in June.
Guilty: Second-degree manslaughter charge
Second-degree manslaughter is culpable negligence where a person creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes the chance of causing death or great bodily harm to someone else. Chauvin was charged with committing or intentionally aiding in the commission of this crime.