UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: Jurors found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts brought against him in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin is guilty on second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
The jury, made up of six white people and six Black or multiracial people, found Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The most serious charge of second-degree murder carries up to 40 years in prison. The maximum sentence for third-degree murder is 25 years, with a maximum of 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
The verdict, arrived at after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days, was read late in the afternoon in a city on edge against the possibility of yet another eruption of the unrest that set off a chain reaction of protests last spring.
The courthouse was ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire, and thousands of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers were brought in ahead of the verdict. Some businesses boarded up with plywood.
By the time the verdict was announced video showed a large crowd gathering in front of the courthouse, preparing for the outcome. Some arrived straight from work, one person even set up a large grill on the sidewalk.
A man with a bullhorn spoke to the crowd calling on them to think about what they wanted for their communities regardless of the outcome, and vowing to continue to work for justice in the case of a guilty verdict on all counts. There were also chants of “Say his name,” and, “If George don’t get it, shut it down!”
Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a 45-year-old now-fired white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd gasped that he couldn’t breathe and onlookers yelled at Chauvin to get off.
The city has been on edge in recent days — not just over the Chauvin case but over the deadly police shooting of a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, in the nearby Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on April 11.
President Joe Biden said earlier in the day Tuesday he was “praying the verdict is the right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. He said he believed the case, which has gone to the jury and put the nation on edge, was “overwhelming.”
Biden told reporters he was only weighing in on the trial into the death of George Floyd, who died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, because the jury in the case had been sequestered. He said he called Floyd’s family on Monday to offer prayers and “ can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
“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.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
ORIGINAL POST: (CBS) — After less than a day of deliberations, jurors announced they have reached a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death. The verdict is expected to be announced between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time (4:30 and 5 p.m. ET), according to the court.
The jury — made up of six White people, four Black people and two biracial people — heard 13 days of sometimes emotional testimony at the heavily secured Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. Judge Peter Cahill sent the jurors to begin deliberations after attorneys on both sides concluded lengthy closing arguments Monday. The jury has been sequestered during deliberations, but was not sequestered during the earlier portion of the trial.
In his closing argument, prosecutor Steve Schleicher urged jurors to focus on the video showing Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
“Believe your eyes,” Schleicher said. “Unreasonable force, pinning him to the ground — that’s what killed him. This was a homicide.”
Schleicher said Chauvin showed “indifference” to Floyd’s pleas for help and continued restraining the man even after he was unresponsive, ignoring the bystanders who were urging him to ease up.
“This case is exactly what you thought when you first saw it — when you first saw the video,” he said. “It’s exactly that. It’s exactly what you saw with your eyes. It’s exactly what you knew. It’s exactly what you felt in your gut. It’s what you now know in your heart. This wasn’t policing, this was murder.”
In his closing argument, defense attorney Eric Nelson said the state has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and has not been able to definitely show how Floyd died.
He said that while the state called a series of experts to testify positional asphyxia was the cause of Floyd’s death, it “flies in the face of reason and common sense” to suggest that Floyd’s drug use and heart disease did not play a role, Nelson said.
Nelson has argued a combination of Floyd’s underlying heart disease, adrenaline and the fentanyl and methamphetamine he had ingested prior to the arrest amounted to a fatal combination.
Nelson called the case “tragic,” but said it was an example of “officers doing their job in a highly stressful situation.”
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The other three officers involved are charged with aiding and abetting, and are expected to be tried jointly in August.