After two weeks of testimony and less than 24 hours of deliberation, the jury has delivered their verdicts in the Derek Chauvin case. Chauvin, a former police officer, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he was seen on video using excessive force on George Floyd, while attempting an arrest in May. Floyd’s crime was allegedly using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes at a store. As a result of that minor indiscretion, he was killed while in police custody.
The jury found Chauvin guilty on all counts, in a verdict read by Judge Peter Cahill shortly after 4 p.m. Central time.
Since it began in early March, the trial of Derek Chauvin has held the nation’s attention captive and has fueled protests all over the country. It is also the latest litmus test of whether or not justice can be attained in any form when it comes to cases of police violence against unarmed Black men and women.
In the run-up to the announcement of the verdict cities across the country braced for the inevitable outcome of anger and unrest depending on how the jury landed. But the bracing itself, which involved increased police presence in some areas, only added to the tensions already felt by over-policed communities looking for some sign of hope that the police could be brought to heel through the due process which they so admire. Instead, protesters were painted as violent mobs sitting in wait to incite more violence, instead of aggravated citizens who have been waiting for justice for years. When the verdict was read, Chauvin blinked, as if surprised that he would be held accountable for his actions—an apt metaphor for how infrequently police officers involved in racist killings are held accountable within the same justice system they are tasked with upholding.
This is a developing story and will be updated.