Nearly a year after the murder of African American George Floyd, a jury found former white cop Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges. Judge Peter Cahill said on Tuesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin faces a long prison sentence. The judge will determine the exact sentence within eight weeks.
Cahill canceled Chauvin’s release on bail and his hands were tied outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced. The defense can still appeal the ruling.
46-year-old Floyd was killed in detention in Minneapolis on May 25 last year. Videos documented how the police pushed the unarmed man to the ground. Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while he begged Floyd to let him breathe. According to the autopsy, Floyd was lost and died soon afterwards. Officers arrested him on suspicion of paying a fake $ 20 bill.
The most dangerous charge against Chauvin was second-degree murder. Up to 40 years in prison in Minnesota. According to German law, this would be more like manslaughter. In addition, Chauvin was also accused of committing third degree murder, which can carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. He also had to be held accountable for a second degree murder that led to his ten years in prison. According to German law, this charge corresponds to negligent homicide. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty.
Experts assume that the chauvin, who has not previously been convicted, should receive a sentence less than the maximum allowed.
Floyd Ben Crump’s family attorney described the conviction as “a turning point in history”. “guilty!” Crump wrote on Twitter. Justice has finally been deserved for the George Floyd family. The verdict sends a clear message that law enforcement is also responsible. “Justice for black America is justice for all of America! “Outside the Minneapolis courthouse there was a festive atmosphere, many people cheered and celebrated in abundance.
According to the US legal system, the verdict of guilt or innocence is up to the jury. There was no time limit for the deliberations of the twelve members of the jury, which had been going on since Monday noon. However, they were no longer allowed to return home during the talks, but were accommodated in a hotel. Their judgment had to be passed unanimously. In this case, the jury will remain anonymous until further notice for security reasons.
Floyd’s fate sparked a wave of demonstrations against racism and police violence in the United States amid the Corona pandemic and developed into the largest protest movement in decades.
So the expectations from the trial in the United States were enormous: many people, including many blacks, were hoping for a verdict that would set an example against racism and police violence. Even US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he was praying for the “right verdict”. New protests were expected in the event of acquittal or short imprisonment.
Immediately before the verdict was announced, hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists gathered in front of the heavily secured courtroom in central Minneapolis. Among other things, they chanted George Floyd, the words “Stop killing us” and “Chauvin – guilty.” Floyd’s ex-partner, Courtney Ross, said before the verdict, the guilty verdict would not only be a sign of justice for Floyd, but also an anti-racist backwind.
Because of the trial, a large number of security forces were deployed to Minneapolis, including National Guard soldiers. Earlier, Governor Tim Falls called for peaceful demonstrations to avoid riots and “chaos.”
Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, argued that Chauvin’s use of force was justified because Floyd had resisted arrest. He was also seeing that Floyd’s death was not primarily due to violence, but primarily due to heart problems and drug residue in his blood.
This argument was clearly rejected by the prosecution experts. For example, a lung specialist said that Floyd died from lack of oxygen. Low oxygen levels caused brain damage and stopped Floyd’s heart. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Aradondo described Chauvin’s use of force as disproportionate and illegal.
Chauvin is released after Floyd’s death. He was released on bail and remained present throughout the trial. In addition to Chauvin, three other former police officers who participated in the operation against Floyd, who will be brought to trial in a separate trial, have been charged starting August 23. They are charged with helping. They also can face lengthy prison sentences.