Derek Chauvin Guilty of George Floyd’s Murder, Rappers React
Twelve jurors have reached an all-guilty verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, a White former Minneapolis, Minn. police officer, who murdered George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in May of 2020.
On Tuesday afternoon (April 20), the news was revealed that Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder (up to 40 years in prison), third-degree murder (up to 25 years in prison) and second-degree manslaughter (up to 10 years in prison). It’s also worth noting that the trial didn’t have a hung jury, or a jury that is unable to reach a verdict after deliberation and fail to reach a unanimous or majority decision.
Judge Peter A. Cahill, who presided over the trial, announced that Chauvin’s bail was revoked and his bond was discharged. Chauvin was also immediately remanded into custody.
Derek Chauvin’s sentence could potentially be lower because he has no prior convictions. However, his sentencing date has not been revealed yet. All that is currently known is Chauvin will face sentencing in eight weeks.
According to a report from CNN on Monday (April 19), the second-degree unintentional murder charge “alleges Chauvin caused Floyd’s death ‘without intent’ while committing or attempting to commit felony third-degree assault.” The third-degree murder charge “alleges Chauvin caused Floyd’s death by ‘perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.'” And lastly, the second-degree manslaughter charge “alleges Chauvin caused Floyd’s death by ‘culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm.'”
CNN additionally reported that during the trial, five doctors gave testimonies saying that “George Floyd died of insufficient oxygen due to Chauvin’s restraint of a handcuffed Floyd in the prone position.”
According to The New York Times on April 5, a chief for the Minneapolis Police Department testified against Chauvin during the trial. “To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back—that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy,” chief Medaria Arradondo said. “It is not part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”
Derek Chauvin’s trial comes a little less than a year after video footage surfaced online and via social media of Floyd, also a former rapper from Houston, being killed while in police custody. On May 26, 2020, the country witnessed Floyd being restrained on the ground with Chauvin’s knee pressed into Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Initial reports said Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but the trial later revealed that timing was incorrect.
In the horrifying video footage, George Floyd was heard pleading with Chauvin as he was unable to breathe. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd said. Floyd also groaned and informed Chauvin, who was accompanied by three other officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, that his body was in pain while being detained. “My stomach hurts,” Floyd said. “My neck hurts. Everything hurts…[I need] water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer…I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.” Floyd called out for his mother, who is deceased, as well.
All four officers, Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, were fired.
Individuals who were at the scene told Chauvin that Floyd could not breathe and asked for the officer to let Floyd off the ground. The woman, who recorded the video that shook the nation, said that Floyd’s nose began to bleed. She also asked the officer to check Floyd’s pulse as he appeared to be “non-responsive.” Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck.
George Floyd was on the ground until he was taken away by paramedics.
Prior to Floyd being detained aggressively, which resulted in his death, Minneapolis Police were responding to a call of forgery.
Days after George Floyd’s death, protests calling for justice against police brutality swept the nation. Floyd is among countless others including Daunte Wright, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.
See hip-hop react to justice being served in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, below.
R.I.P George Floyd.
See Hip-Hop Albums Turning Five in 2021