(Bloomberg) — Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last May, was convicted of second-degree murder in his politically explosive trial.
Chauvin, 45, was charged in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man accused of passing a counterfeit bill at a convenience store. Under Minnesota law he faces as many as four decades in prison, although he will probably get much less time under state sentencing guidelines. The jury got the case on April 19 following three weeks of emotional and sometimes graphic testimony from medical experts, family members and anguished bystanders. In rendering its verdict on Tuesday, it also convicted Chauvin of the lesser charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.
He will face sentencing in eight weeks.
Chauvin, who is White, was captured in a viral video pinning Floyd chest down to the pavement, even as Floyd repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe.” The incident spurred millions of people across America and in other nations to take to the streets to protest police violence and racism. The state argued that Chauvin was a bad cop who violated the department’s stated mission to serve with courage and compassion. The defense said cardiovascular problems and drug use had played a significant role in Floyd’s death and that Chauvin used reasonable force to detain an actively resisting suspect.
Biden Scraps Jobs-Plan Speech, Unclear If He’ll Speak on Verdict (5:33 p.m. NY)
It’s not yet clear whether President Joe Biden will speak following the verdict. Staff scrapped a planned speech on his jobs plan and declined to comment on whether he would instead respond to the trial outcome. Earlier he’d said he was praying for “the right verdict”
Jury in Courthouse, Crowds Outside Chant for End to Hate (4:57 p.m. NY)
Crowds are building outside the courthouse where the verdict will be read. They are chanting “Stop hate now!” The jury, which has been sequestered in a hotel since Monday, is now in the building, according to Court TV.
George Floyd Chants Begin Outside the Cup Foods Store (4:49 p.m. NY)
George Floyd chants have started outside of the Cup Foods near where he was killed. The crowd is pretty small so far.
Minnesota Governor Reportedly to Make Statement in About Two Hours (4:29 p.m. NY)
Courthouse Area Boarded Up as Minnesota Braces for Verdict (4:03 p.m. NY)
Around downtown’s Hennepin County Courthouse, where Chauvin was on trial, the government center looks like a makeshift military base. Fencing and barriers, National Guard troops and police surround the building and large military vehicles are parked outside. Businesses are boarded up.
The measures are part of the city and state’s preparations for the trial, and they were ramped up this week in the wake of the police killing of Daunte Wright in neighboring Brooklyn Center. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has activated more than 3,000 National Guard troops, declared a state of emergency and called in law enforcement help from other states.
That militarized presence has expanded beyond the immediate area around the courthouse to the area closer to the Cup Foods store where Floyd was killed.
Minnesota AG to Hold Presser 20 Minutes After Verdict Is Read (3:49 p.m. NY)
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says he will hold a press conference 20 minutes after the reading of the verdict is done.
Biden Praying for ‘the Right Verdict’ (3:46 p.m. NY)
President Joe Biden said he’s praying for “the right verdict” in the trial of the police officer charged with George Floyd’s murder, and that he called Floyd’s family after the jury began its deliberations.
Verdict to Be Read in Open Court (3:43 p.m. NY)
The note from the court was brief: A verdict has been reached and will be read in open court between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Minnesota is on central time, so the verdict will be issued at 4:30 p.m. in New York. The total amount of time the jury spent deliberating was less than 11 hours.