Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, whose death sparked protests across the country.
The jury came to the verdict after nine hours of deliberations, with the Chauvin being found guilty of murder in the second and third degree. Chauvin was also found guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. The trial had lasted just under a month, with proceedings starting at the end of March.
Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts, including second degree murder, third degree murder, and manslaughterpic.twitter.com/KsGsJTAsQM
— Jack Hadfield 👍🇬🇧 (@JackHadders) April 20, 2021
Derek Chauvin leaving the courtroom in handcuffs after the jury found him guilty on all counts pic.twitter.com/9FMNTWrxzF
— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) April 20, 2021
As National File reported, Floyd was arrested for allegedly passing off a fake $20 bill when attempting to buy cigarettes from a corner shop:
Before the police arrived, Floyd spent between 20 and 30 minutes in a Mercedes Benz car with his friends. “While they were in the car, Mr Floyd consumed what were thought to be two percocet pills [later revealed to be a mixture of meth and fentanyl],” Nelson [Chauvin’s lead defense attorney] said in his statement, revealing that his friends will later testify that “Mr Floyd fell asleep in the car, and that they couldn’t wake him up.” When confronted by police, “Mr Floyd put drugs in his mouth in an effort to conceal them,” Nelson said, adding that later surveillance videos from across the street show that there is evidence of “further concealment of controlled substances.”
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross, also revealed that she thought she would die after taking pills with Floyd, and that their drug dealer was in the car with them at the time of his arrest. A medical expert further testified that Floyd’s death was caused by a combination of a preexisting heart condition, the inhuman amount of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, and exposure to carbon monoxide in the form of car exhaust from a nearby squad car.
The guilty verdict would come as no surprise to many, with multiple instances of seeming intimidation against the jury from activists and elected officials. “If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose,” warned Black Lives Matter activist Maya Echols. “Don’t be surprised when buildings are on fire. Just sayin’.” Echols later deleted the video after backlash.
“This is guilty for murder. I don’t know whether it’s third degree, but as far as I’m concerned it’s first degree murder,” said Representative Maxine Waters last weekend. She added that, should Chauvin not be convicted for first degree murder, then “we gotta stay on the streets, we gotta get more active, we got to get more confrontational, we got to make sure they know we mean business.” Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the case, described Waters’s comments as “abhorrent,” suggesting that they could be used as evidence in any appeal case by Chauvin.
A local news organisation also published full biographies of the jurors involved, including their ages, ethnicities, their job occupation, among other details, potentially leaving the jurors open to physical violence if they had voted not to convict Chauvin of Floyd’s murder. National File is choosing not to link to the article out of respect for the anonymity of the jury.
Police officers also faced serious intimidation in the run up to the verdict. Speaking to Stew Peters, an anonymous law enforcement source revealed that thugs are now following police who are in strategic locations in Minneapolis when they get into their vehicles, with officers having guns pointed at them as they try to get home from work. An anonymous email also threatened to kill 100 police officers, claiming that they had the home addresses of every officer in the state and their families.
Video footage posted to Twitter shows a U.S. National Guard convoy on the move in downtown Minneapolis in anticipation of the verdict, with many predicting violent riots on the streets regardless of the outcome.
National File will continue to follow breaking news of any unrest to come.