By Anna Galaktionov
After almost a year of protests, investigations and unease, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was proclaimed guilty of George Floyd’s death this past Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, causing the 46-year-old African American man to have a cardiopulmonary arrest or ceasing of heart and lung function. Floyd died in the hospital not long after the incident.
The two sides of jurors were split on the direct cause of Floyd’s death. They heard arguments that Floyd died because of his large heart, drug overdose of fentanyl and a myriad of other reasons. They also heard that Chauvin’s knee pinning down on Floyd’s neck against pavement was the “substantial cause” of his death.
According to NBC news, Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy of Floyd’s body, his death was a homicide.
Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist of Loyola University Medical Center, claimed that “a healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” according to USA Today.
During the trial, defense attorney Eric Nelson said to the jury, “You were told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. You heard that testimony. And now having seen all the evidence, having heard all the evidence, you know the truth. And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”
After hearing all the various testimonies and claims, the jury found Chavin guilty on three counts. As CBS Minnesota outlines, they were second-degree unintentional murder (causing death without intent), second-degree manslaughter (killing by unreasonable risk), and third-degree murder (committing murder by a “eminently dangerous” act displaying a “depraved mind”).
Right before the verdict was read, Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, prayed that Chauvin be found guilty.
“As an African American, we usually never get justice,” he said.
After keeping his head down and taking extensive notes for a large portion of the trial, Chauvin was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Judge Peter Cahill said that Chauvin’s jail sentence will be determined in approximately eight weeks, which could be as much as 40 years just for the second-degree murder count.