The verdict is in, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who stood charged with the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd.
Read by Judge Peter A. Cahill on Tuesday afternoon, the jury’s verdict found Chauvin guilty on all three counts, including second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The prosecution, led by Steve Schleicher, and defense attorney Eric J. Nelson made their closing arguments on April 19, capping 14 days of testimony from doctors, policing exerts, bystanders and members of the Minneapolis PD. Judge Cahill oversaw the proceedings, at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
The crux of the prosecution was a nine-and-a-half minute bystander video that showed Chauvin leaning his knee on Floyd’s neck, as the Black 46-year-old lay handcuffed on the street, repeatedly crying out, “I can’t breathe.” “This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video,” Schleicher said during his summation.
The defense, in turn, alleged that Floyd, who at the time was suspected of forgery/passing counterfeit money, had actively resisted when officers tried to get him into a squad car, and also suggested Floyd was under the influence of illegal drugs. Jurors were asked by Nelson to look at the “totality of the circumstances” and “put the evidence in its proper context.”
Nelson on Monday had asked for a mistrial, claiming that a statements made by Representative Maxine Waters over the weekend (“I hope that we are going to get a verdict that says, ‘guilty, guilty, guilty,’ and if we don’t, then we cannot go away”) amounted to intimidation. Judge Cahill denied the request but said that Waters’ “abhorrent” words “may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”