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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
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# George Floyd
Derek Chauvin found guilty of the second-degree murder of George Floyd
Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump hailed the three guilty verdicts as a landmark victory for civil rights.

FORMER POLICE OFFICER Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the second-degree murder of George Floyd following a trial in the US city of Minneapolis. 

Chauvin was also found guilty of the third-degree murder and the second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd.

Supporters of Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement had gathered outside the courtroom ahead of the verdict, and erupted into cheers after it was announced.

Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump hailed the verdict as a landmark victory for civil rights that could be a springboard for reform of police forces in their dealings with minorities.

news-chauvin-trial-minnesota SIPA USA / PA Images Courteney Batya Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend in red, center, outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

“Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement,” Crump tweeted.

“Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!”

Prosecutors thanked the witnesses that gave evidence at the trial – “a veritable bouquet of humanity”, as prosecutor Jerry Blackwell called them: an off-duty firefighter who asked officers to check Floyd’s pulse; a mixed martial arts fighter who challenged the police officers over how they were handling Floyd; and a high-school student who filmed the incident, who was with her nine-year-old cousin wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word ‘love’.

The charges and jury

Chauvin, aged 45, had pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

All charges were to be considered separately and, following a three-week trial, the jury has found him guilty of all charges that he faced. 

A conviction on any of the charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder or manslaughter – requires the jury to return a unanimous verdict.

The viral video

The death of 46-year-old Floyd during an arrest in May 2020 prompted global protests after a video of the incident recorded Chauvin kneeling on the Black man’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. 

Darnella Frazier, the high-school teenager who took the video that went viral around the world, said Floyd was “scared” and “begging for his life.”

“It wasn’t right. He was suffering,” Frazier said.

45 witnesses were called during the trial, 38 for the prosecution and seven for the defence, with both sides delivering their closing arguments yesterday.

Chauvin had invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defence, so he did not take the stand to give evidence during the trial. 

The jury came to their decision earlier today, after 10 hours of deliberations.

Judge Peter Cahill said that Chauvin’s sentencing will take place in eight weeks’ time. A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison on the most serious of three charges he faced – second-degree murder.

With reporting from the Associated Press

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