Breaking: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of unintentional murder, guilty of 3rd degree murder and guilty 2nd degree manslaughter in a case that has rocked the nation.
Chauvin’s bond has been revoked and he has been taken into custody.
The next step in the case is the likely filing of an appeal, on the grounds of outside influence on case by local civil unrest and political intereference.
Earlier: The jury has reached a verdict on the varying murder charges former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is facing.
They will be announced in the next hour or two.
Chao Xiong and Paul Walsh
MINNEAPOLIS — Jurors remained in deliberations into the afternoon Tuesday in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, after being given the case late Monday.
The jury heard nearly six hours of closing arguments from opposing attorneys Monday in Hennepin County District Court about whether the former Minneapolis police officer should be convicted or acquitted of killing George Floyd May 25, 2020, at 38th and Chicago by pinning him to the pavement until he died.
Deliberations began late Monday afternoon and wrapped up about 8 p.m. They resumed at 8 a.m. Tuesday. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the jurors have been out more than eight hours.
They are being sequestered throughout their deliberations and until the verdicts are read in court and livestreamed before a worldwide audience.
Chauvin, 45, is free on bond while the jury works toward unanimous verdicts on second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The 12-person jury has six people who are white, four who are Black and two who are multiracial. Two are in their 20s, three in their 30s, three in their 40s, three in their 50s and one in their 60s. Seven are woman, and five are men.
Three other fired officers who assisted in Floyd being restrained stomach-down for more than nine minutes — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are scheduled to be tried in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
Moments after the jury was dismissed Monday, there was discussion in court about prosecutors’ pursuit of a sentence longer than state sentencing guidelines call for should Chauvin be convicted. They state raised numerous aggravating factors, including that Floyd was especially vulnerable, Chauvin was a uniformed police officer acting in a position of authority, and his acts were witnessed by children, one of them 9 years old.
Chauvin waived his right to have a jury rule on aggravating factors and said in court that he would have Judge Peter Cahill decide if the jury returns one or more guilty verdicts.
At the outset Monday, prosecutor Steve Schleicher reminded jurors that Floyd said “I can’t breathe” 27 times in the first 4 minutes and 45 seconds of this encounter. The prosecutor also said “9 minutes and 29 seconds” all throughout his presentation, reminding jurors of the length of time that Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the pavement.
“Was George Floyd resisting when he was trying to breathe? No,” he said, adding that Chauvin chose to mock Floyd by saying, “It takes a lot of oxygen to complain.”
Schleicher called on the jurors to convict Chauvin on all counts because “it is not an excuse for the shocking abuse you saw with your own eyes” thanks to a teenage bystander’s video of Floyd’s detention on the pavement as he drew his last breath.
“This wasn’t policing,” the prosecutor said. “This was murder.”
He went after the defense’s contention that various factors were the primary reasons for Floyd’s death, among them a heart attack, health problems, illicit drugs and possibly carbon monoxide from a nearby squad car. The prosecution said Floyd died from a lack of oxygen.
Schleicher said it would be “an amazing coincidence [that] he chose at that moment to die of heart disease. … Is that common sense or is that nonsense?”
Defense attorney Eric Nelson took his turn and went for more than 2 1/2 hours until Cahill interrupted him and ordered a 30-minute recess for lunch at 2:10 p.m. Nelson returned to the podium at 2:44 p.m. and promised “to speed things up.”
He needed another 16 minutes to conclude and said that when the jurors review the evidence and the law, “all within a thorough analysis, the state has failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt” and Chauvin should be found not guilty.
Nelson showed the jurors body camera footage of Floyd’s arrest to demonstrate his struggle with officer before he was on the ground. He said Chauvin’s actions were in line of those of a reasonable police officer.
“A reasonable police officer would hear the words that a suspect is saying — I’m a good guy, I’m claustrophobic — and he’s going to compare those words to the actions of the individual,” Nelson said. ” … A reasonable police officer understands the intensity of the struggle … Mr. Floyd was able to overcome the efforts of three police officers while handcuffed with his legs and his body strength.”
Co-prosecutor Jerry Blackwell had the last word during closing arguments while rebutting Nelson’s marathon effort to persuade the jury, when he noted how the defense referenced Floyd having a heart that was too big, and countered, “The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”
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