The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin has just found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty of all three charges in connection to the death of George Floyd in May 2020.Chauvin, 45, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. With an entire nation holding its breath, the Jury announced it had found Chauvin guilty on all counts.
Chauvin’s bail was immediately revoked, and he was then promptly led away in handcuffs. The sounds of car horns and cheering could be heard outside the Hennepin County Courthouse shortly after the verdict was announced.
According to the judge, Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for eight weeks from now. He could serve time in prison for decades.
The jury deliberated for about 10 hours and 20 minutes to reach a decision, which was read aloud in a city that had already been America’s ground zero for worsening race relations, violence, and destruction.
The courthouse was fortified in layers of concrete barrier, razor wire, and thousands of National Guardsmen and police officers who were brought in before the verdict was read.
The Jury was made up of seven women and five men. Six jurors were white, four were black, and two identified as multiracial. All the jurors were sequestered, their whereabouts remaining a secret during deliberations, which began Monday afternoon. Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, for a person with no criminal history, each murder charge carries a presumptive sentence of 12.5 years in prison, with the manslaughter charge carrying a presumptive charge of four years in prison.
President Joe Biden weighed in before the verdict was read, stating that he believed the case of Chauvin’s conviction was “overwhelming.” He also stated that he had spoken to George Floyd’s family on Monday and “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.” He also added, “They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” Biden said. “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
Chauvin Could Successfully Appeal His Guilty Verdict
Though Chauvin was convicted today, it is expected that he will file an appeal of the Jury’s guilty verdict. The avenue with the highest chance of success would most likely concern the publicity of the trial, and the massive pressure the Jury received from the public, media, as well as politicians. Even the judge presiding over Chauvin’s trial said that Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)’s ‘confrontational’ protest remarks could fuel an appeal.
Chauvin’s supposed intention to appeal certainly raises questions about whether justice was actually served today. Did our justice system successfully punish a police officer who had murdered an unarmed man? Or did pressure from mob rule, perpetuated by the narrative of systemic racism pervading anything and everything, coerce the Jury to decide purely out of fear on what might happen to them if they decided to rule differently.
The Derek Chauvin trial could come to redefine the fine line between justice and mob rule for years to come.