The article below by Ryan Downey on the trial was originally prepared as of press time on April 19 and has been updated by Associated Press coverage of the verdict on April 20.
BREAKING: According to The Associated Press, “Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.”
Chauvin was found guilty of all charges.
“The jury of six whites and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days,” AP reported. “The now-fired white officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
President Joe Biden welcomed the verdict, saying Floyd’s death was “a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world” to see systemic racism.
The continuation of the article is as reported by Ryan Downey as prepared for press on April 19.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, is currently on trial. Chauvin was seen in a video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for a total of nine minutes and 29 seconds. Chauvin’s trial has now completed its third week of testimony in a courtroom in Minnesota and is expected to go into the week of April 20.
After the death of Floyd, the Black Lives Matter Movement reignited, forming protests throughout the U.S. and around the world. This movement calls for racial equality and that all the men and women on the police force who have unlawfully taken the lives of Black individuals be held accountable.
“The Black Lives Matter Movement is a testament to how badly things need to change in this country,” said sophomore Christopher Bocola. “There is no reason a black man should be killed for a petty crime on noncompliance.”
Chauvin and the other officers who were at the scene of the crime lost their jobs shortly after Floyd’s death.
On March 29, Chauvin sat for the first time in front of a jury as his trial began.
The trial began with showing the video that was blasted all over social media with Floyd yelling “I can’t breathe” as Chauvin held his knee on the neck of Floyd.
According to the Associated Press, this was followed by the testimony of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who shot the video. In the emotional testimony, Frazier explained how Chauvin ignored the pleas of bystanders to get off of Floyd’s neck.
“A medical examiner concluded last year that Floyd’s heart stopped, complicated by how police restrained him and compressed his neck,” said an AP report.
On the death certificate was listed high blood pressure and fentanyl intoxication, as well as previous use of methamphetamine. Those in the courtroom have debated whether the narcotics in Floyd’s system played a part in his death.
Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, has raised many questions regarding Floyd’s death. Nelson questioned Floyd’s partner, Courtney Ross, about previous drug use and questioned a bystander who was a paramedic about responding to overdose cases, attempting to raise the narrative that the cause of death may have been a drug overdose.
Professor James McCabe, an Associate Professor of Government at Sacred Heart University with previous police officer experience, said, “It appears that his (Chauvin’s) defense, that drugs and Floyd’s heart condition as the cause of death, does not seem to be holding up against the medical testimony presented so far.”
The drugs that were discovered in Floyd’s autopsy seem to be the main act of defense from Chauvin and Nelson and probably will continue to be as the trial proceeds.
Chauvin’s defense attorney tried to show that the video of Floyd’s death shows him yelling “I ATE TOO MANY DRUGS” while being pinned down by the police. According to the Associated Press, when asked about this, prosecution witness Jody Stiger said, “I can’t seem to make that out,” furthering the idea that drugs did not play a larger role in the death.
The coroner who performed the autopsy deemed it a lack of oxygen and his heart stopping, but the defense attorney’s content says otherwise.
“People put in that position experience positional asphyxia… meaning just the position alone can cause suffocation,” said McCabe. “Adding the extra pressure of putting a knee to the head or neck makes the actions even more dangerous.”