Derek Chauvin Trial Reaches A Verdict


Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Degen Naldoza, Online Entertainment Editor

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last May, resulting in Floyd’s death, was found guilty of all three charges against him, including unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter on April 20 in one of the most significant trials of the Black Lives Matter era.

“This case is incredibly sad, and I am glad that the court was able to come to a decision as to how Derek Chauvin would face the consequences of his actions. I can only hope that this tragic death will prevent something like this to happen again,” junior Alex Bardsley said. 

On May 25 2020, three policemen were called on Geroge Floyd after he was suspected of paying for cigarettes at a corner store with a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, two police officers, aided Chauvin in restraining Floyd, while Tou Thao, another cop, kept spectators from interfering with the arrest and intervening as events unfolded. Darnella Frazier’s video captured Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back while Floyd was handcuffed and lying down on the street for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The 46-year-old Black man gasped for air under the officer’s knees, repeatedly exclaiming, “I can’t breathe,” and eventually went silent. There were many witnesses to the incident, and nineteen of them testified for the prosecution. 

Chauvin was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.  Before reaching a verdict, the jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over a two-day span. Chauvin’s bail was revoked after the verdict was announced, and he was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom, where he is now awaiting sentencing in Stillwater, Minnesota. 

The evidence presented by the prosecution was the video that captured the occurrence and many witnesses. According to the second-degree murder charge, Chauvin assaulted Floyd with his knee, causing Floyd’s death inadvertently. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder for acting with a “depraved mind” and manslaughter for causing Floyd’s death due to his “culpable negligence.” Chauvin could face up to 75 years in jail. The defense claimed that Floyd’s death wasn’t caused by Chauvin’s actions and rather that his drug abuse was at fault. The state has requested a harsher punishment than the recommendations given in this case. Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for eight weeks from now, and he has asked that the judge be the sole decider.

“As sad as George Floyd’s death is, our country needs to understand and realize the monstrosities that occur to black men and women in regards to police. I’m glad that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of this murder, and Floyd’s family can mourn his death in peace,” junior Annaluna Giachich said.

George Floyd’s final moments encapsulated what many Black Americans have long protested about: how the criminal justice system dehumanizes Black citizens, sparking nationwide demonstrations as well as reports of looting and unrest. Protests erupted all over the world, including here in our city, in response to George Floyd’s death. Floyd’s case is the first of many cases where an officer was held accountable for their injustices against Black Americans. 

This time is a unique experience for high school students, as movements like this haven’t erupted like this ever before.