On May 31, 2020, police officer Derek Chauvin arrested Minneapolis resident George Floyd. The ensuing struggle resulted in Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time. Floyd died from a lack of oxygen while being pinned to the ground. As a result, Chauvin was stripped of his job as a police officer, and widespread protests filled the streets of several US cities calling for justice.
Police brutality become a central focus as the protest movement rippled out, with Chauvin being charged with murder in the case. Many activists called on the police officer to face justice, though they assumed he’d be acquitted by a jury and not serve any prison time. However, surprising the nation, Chauvin’s trial in April 2021 returned guilty verdicts on all three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Crowds gathered in Minneapolis were shocked and many were relieved to hear the news. The National Guard had prepared for a not guilty verdict inciting protests and even riots, stationing forces in Minneapolis ahead of the jury deliberations. Following the announcement of the verdict on Tuesday, chants of “all three charges” went up in the crowds, according to reporters who were on the scene.
Images of Chauvin from during the reading of the verdict indicate little response at the guilty verdicts. He is seen wearing a face mask in court, offering no outward reaction by the announcement as the judge also adds that his bail is rescinded. Chauvin had been awaiting the trial and verdict out from behind bars after posting bail. However, he will now await sentencing from prison, as the judge deemed his case serious enough to rescind bail.
For his own safety, the former police officer is being kept separate from the general population of the prison he’s being held in. He’s in an “administrative control unit,” separated from other prisoners due to the high profile of his case and his background in law enforcement.
His sentencing will take place at some point in the second week of June. While he could technically face as many as 40 years in prison, it’s unlikely he’ll face the maximum jail time. In reality, his lack of a prior record and the apparently accidental nature of Floyd’s death could see his sentence being reduced depending on the judge’s discretion. Notably, he would serve any jail time for the crimes concurrently, not consecutively, per the state’s sentencing guidelines.