A popular jury on Tuesday found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of African-American George Floyd. The former Minneapolis police officer had been charged with second degree murder, punishable by up to 40 years in jail; murder in the third degree, with a maximum sentence of 25 years, and murder in the second degree, which carries up to 10 years of deprivation of liberty.
The jury unanimously found him guilty of all three charges, and now the judge has eight weeks to determine the sentence. With no prior penalties, the sentence is likely to be no more than 12 years in prison. The former agent had pleaded not guilty to all charges and received the verdict with the same inscrutable expression that he maintained throughout the trial.
US media report that Derek Chauvin is expected to appeal the verdict. The other three officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest will be tried later.
“Justice has been done” The verdict was known after less than a day of deliberation. In the city of Minneapolis, where George Floyd died in May 2020, they feared a wave of protests should the former police officer be acquitted. “Justice was served,” said one of the people gathered outside the court on Tuesday in statements to the BBC, amid applause and cheers.
“The verdict goes beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world,” said lawyer Ben Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family, in a statement. Philonise Floyd, one of Geroge’s brothers, declared in an emotional media appearance that she will finally be able to breathe, alluding to the plea “I can’t breathe” that her brother repeated before his death.
The trial was followed this month with enormous attention inside and outside the country, and it returned to focus on the police system and racial inequality in the United States. Images of Derek Chauvin, 45, pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, with his face on the asphalt and for more than 9 minutes, went around the world last year and unleashed a wave of protests inside and outside the United States. .UU. “No one is above the law” US President Joe Biden personally called Floyd’s family shortly after the verdict was released. “At least now there is some justice,” Biden was heard saying.
“We have been following every second of this. We are all very relieved. We are going to get more done. This is going to be the first step in dealing with systemic racism.” Then, during the same call, US Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her appreciation to the entire family.
“You have been the true leaders of the moment. We are going to make sure that George’s legacy remains intact, this moment will go down in history,” he said. “We are going to make something good come out of this tragedy.”
Later, Biden and Harris appeared from the White House to reiterate their satisfaction with the verdict and underline the need to promote changes in the police and judicial system. “No one is above the law,” stressed Biden. “Today’s verdict sends a message, but it is not enough.” “State and local security forces need to redouble their efforts and so does the federal government,” the president added, citing a police reform law named after George Floyd.