Guilty. Three weeks after the start of a trial that was watched around the world, a jury of 12 Hennepin County residents delivered their verdict on the three counts against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for nine-and-a-half minutes. Judge Peter Cahill read the unanimous verdict.
Judge Peter Cahill: “We, the jury in the above-entitled matter, as to count one, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty. … We, the jury in the above-entitled matter, as to count two, third-degree murder perpetrating an eminently dangerous act, find the defendant guilty. … We, the jury in the above-entitled matter, as to count three, second-degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty.”
Jurors deliberated for just over 10 hours before delivering their guilty verdict. Judge Cahill revoked Chauvin’s bail and will sentence him in eight weeks. He faces up to 40 years in prison for the most serious charge, second-degree murder. It’s the first time a white officer has been found guilty of murdering a person of color in Minnesota. An NPR investigation found that police officers have shot and killed at least 135 Black men and women across the U.S. since 2015. At least 75% of those officers were white.
On the streets of Minneapolis and around the country, protesters greeted the news with joy, relief and vows to keep fighting. George Floyd’s murder last May set off a global movement for racial justice and against police brutality. George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd responded to the verdict at a press conference with other family members and civil rights leaders.
Philonise Floyd: “I’m going to put up a fight every day, because I’m not just fighting for George anymore, I’m fighting for everybody around this world. I get calls. I get DMs, people from Brazil, from Ghana, from Germany, everybody, London, Italy. They’re all saying the same thing: We won’t be able to breathe until you are able to breathe. Today, we are able to breathe again.”