On Tuesday evening, after just about 11 hours of deliberation, the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial finally came to a verdict. The jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection to the death of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020.
Chauvin is likely to appeal these charges, but will likely face further charges for civil rights violations in federal court. If the charges stick, Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison for the second-degree murder charges and up to 25 years for third-degree charges. Sentencing guidelines for a defendant with no criminal record, like Chauvin, is 12.5 years. Maximum sentencing for manslaughter charges is 10 years, but the aforementioned guidelines would likely call for a four-year sentence.
Chauvin will be sentenced eight weeks from now. A trial for the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest is set to begin in August.
Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who performed the autopsy on Floyd, previously said that he’d testified about the case before a federal grand jury recently. According to MinnPost staff writer Greta Kaul, this indicates the process may already be underway.
During his testimony on Friday, Baker said he “intentionally chose” not to watch the footage of Floyd’s death until after he performed the autopsy. He ruled the death a homicide, saying Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck was the direct contributing factor, as opposed to any drugs in Floyd’s system or heart disease. Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson had previously argued that the heart disease and drug use were more to blame.
“It was the stress of that interaction that tipped him over the edge,” Baker said. “Given his underlying heart disease and his toxicological status.”
Forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas told jurors that she agreed with Baker, saying the restraining, subduing, and eventual compression of Floyd’s neck caused his death. “This is a death where both the heart and lungs stopped working,” Thomas said. “And the point is, it is due to law enforcement subdual, restraint and compression.”
Back in March, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to give the Floyd family $27 million in a settlement, one of the largest of its kind. Mayor Jacob Frey said the agreement “reflects a shared commitment to advancing racial justice and a sustained push for progress.”
Stay tuned for further updates on forthcoming Derek Chauvin legal proceedings.
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