Verdict: Derek Chauvin Guilty of Murder, Manslaughter in the Death of George Floyd

By The Stream Published on April 20, 2021

Verdict: Guilty.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd. Second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. The news brought a roar from the crowd outside the courthouse. 

The jury only deliberated 10 ½ hours and didn’t have any questions for the judge.

No doubt the horrific 9 ½ minute video of Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd, even after Floyd had stopped resisting, weighed heavy on the jurors. The theme of the prosecutor’s case was “believe your own eyes.”

The defense introduced autopsy results showing Floyd had enough fentanyl in him to kill him, and police camera video showed Floyd saying “I can’t breathe,” long before he was on the ground with Chauvin on him. Floyd also suffered heart disease. The defense also offered testimony that Chauvin was following his training having a knee at the base of the neck and ample video evidence that Floyd had resisted arrest from the start of his police encounter.

But that 9 1/2 minute video, evidence he died of asphyxiation, plus testimony that Chauvin did violate procedures  … to say nothing of nearly a year of national outrage and media hype…and threats from BLM…were too much to overcome. Jurors could not get beyond what we all saw: Why was Chauvin still on his neck after it was clear Floyd was in serious trouble? 

Minneapolis Braces for the Impact

And now, Minneapolis braces for the impact. Even of a guilty verdict. A state of emergency has been declared. 3,000 National Guard troops are on hand, along with countless state and local police. Also on hand, mobs of BLM activists willing to repeat their inferno of last summer. 

Joe Biden Interferes

Not helping matters is Joe Biden basically calling Tuesday for a guilty verdict. Said Biden, “I’m praying that verdict is the right verdict, which I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”

Biden’s comments come a day after the trial judge Peter Cahill declared, “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function.”

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Judge Cahill made the statement after Rep. Maxine Waters told protesters to “get more confrontational” with police if the verdict didn’t go the way she wanted.  

Cahill suggested to the defense that Waters’ threat “may have given you something on appeal that may result in his whole trial being overturned.” Denial of a fair trial. Witness and juror intimidation.

So this trial is over. But the case may not be over. And the night is just beginning. Even in “celebration” of a guilty verdict. Even with a demonstration that the system works.

Pray for Minneapolis … and the nation. Pray for peace. 


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The Habit of Nearness
Robert J. Morgan
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