Derek Chauvin, the white ex-police officer who was filmed choking George Floyd with his knee, has been found guilty of second degree murder
Chauvin, 45, was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with the racially diverse jury asked to conclude if Chauvin’s actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Mr Floyd’s death.
The case drew global attention after Mr Floyd’s death prompted protests across the world.
It brought renewed focus on how police interact with communities they serve and racial inequalities, sparking emotions ranging from fury to distress.
His trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has drawn global audiences and left the city on edge with the possibility of repeats of the demonstrations and anger that erupted after Mr Floyd’s death last year.
This comes after protesters all across the US clashed with police at protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who pleaded with a white officer who was kneeling on his neck during an arrest, saying that he could not breathe.
Court shown Derek Chauvin body cam footage of George Floyd’s arrest.
The trial heard from experts in the police as the prosecution told jurors that 45-year-old Chauvin squeezed the life out of the man he was supposed to be restraining in May last year.
The prosecution said Mr Floyd was “just a man, lying on the pavement, being pressed upon, desperately crying out”.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher told the court that George Floyd was:
“A grown man crying out for his mother. A human being,”
The prosecution said the now-fired officer’s actions were reckless and unreasonable.
His defence said Mr Floyd put himself at risk by using fentanyl and methamphetamine and then resisted officers as they tried to arrest him.
Jurors were told those actions, combined with his heart disease, led to his death.
Chauvin’s lawyers also referred to a 2019 incident between Mr Floyd and police, in which he suffered dangerously high blood pressure and confessed to using opioid painkillers.
During the trial, jurors sat through footage of Mr Floyd gasping for breath and pleading with officers not to shoot him as they detained him.
This comes after Boris Johnson faced criticism for ignoring demands to condemn former President Donald Trump’s response to demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality that are taking place all throughout the United States since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of police.
They heard from experts on restraint and medicine during three weeks of testimony.
The jury’s deliberations got under way with the courthouse surrounded by concrete barriers and razor wire, with the city patrolled by the National Guard.
The trial took place as a 20-year-old black man, Daunte Wright, was shot by police during a traffic stop in Minnesota, sparking fresh outrage.
Protesters have demonstrated over the killing outside, while President Joe Biden reportedly called Mr Floyd’s family to say they were in his prayers.
This comes after police officers in the UK are now being urged to “think very carefully” before “taking the knee” during protests, in a report that has been released by the independent police inspectorate.
Timeline of the Trial
March 11: Jury selection for the former police’s trial begins. The courts carried out a long and careful selection process because of the sensitivity and significance of the case. Those who were chosen were then questioned for over two weeks and almost all of them say that they have seen at least parts of the infamous footage with several acknowledging that it had given them at least a somewhat negative view of Derek Chauvin. However, they say that they can set that aside.
Jury selection paused in trial over George Floyd’s death.
March 12: The city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million in order to settle a civil lawsuit with George Floyd’s family as a wrongful death claim.
March 29: Derek Chauvin’s trial officially began in Minneapolis. He faced the charges of third-degree murder and second-degree murder and manslaughter.
April 19: After a three-week trial, in which the court heard evidence from 45 witnesses and had watched hours of footage that was filmed by bystanders, the jury retires to consider its verdict.
April 20: The jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges of killing George Floyd.