Almost a year after the death of George Floyd, a verdict has been reached in the criminal trial of officer Derek Chauvin.
On April 20, around 5 p.m. Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts he was charged with. Derek Chauvin will serve time in prison for second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was taken into custody as soon as the verdict was read.
Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck as he died mid-arrest, is being tried with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. This trial comes almost a year after Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.
According to WSJ, to be charged with each of these the prosecution must prove that Chauvin intentionally applied unlawful force, showed reckless disregard for human life and was culpably negligent and reckless, respectively.
The three-week trial was an attempt to prove that Officer Derek Chauvin was solely responsible for the death of George Floyd. The jury deliberated until 8 p.m. on Monday night and began again at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, delivering a verdict Tuesday afternoon.
The prosecution, in this case, had the burden of proving that Derek Chauvin was guilty of murdering George Floyd, while the defense rested heavily on the fact that George Floyd had narcotics in his system, claiming that was his true cause of death.
Politicians have not been silent on the issue either. According to CBS, this weekend Rep. Maxine Water (D-CA) made comments surrounding the trial suggesting protesters should “get confrontational” depending on the verdict.
Chauvin’s defense used the comments as a chance to ask the judge if this affected the trial at all. The Judge presiding over the case had this to say about the representative’s comments, “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
President Joe Biden also made comments on the case this morning stating that he is “praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think it’s overwhelming in my view.” This comment came after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated the president would not speak until after the verdict.
Around 7 p.m. EST, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on the matter.
Vice President Harris began by stating that, “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.” She mentioned that this move was just a beginning and that, “We still must reform the system.”
She finished by stating that we are all a part of George Floyd’s legacy.
Next, President Biden spoke and began by discussing systemic racism in America. He stated that this case represented “a knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans,” and repeated Harris’ theme that this was a step towards justice.
He mentioned having spoken to the governor of Minnesota and the family of George Floyd. He claimed that such a verdict is “much too rare.”
“Most men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honorably,” he continued, while also stating the verdict is not enough action. President Joe Biden reminded America that he wishes to tackle systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
Both officials expressed a desire to pass more legislation with regards to policing and sadness for how long it took to pass.
He concluded by asking for Floyd’s legacy to be one of peace not violence and reminded that violent protest is not appropriate.
“This is a time for this country to unite as Americans,” finished President Biden, “This can be a moment for significant change.”
It remains unclear whether or not there will be a mistrial declared on account of jury tampering based on public officials’ comments.