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Charges against Derek Chauvin: we explain what each one means


The jury at Derek Chauvin's trial found him guilty of all the charges for which he was charged. We explain what each one means. 

Derek Chauvin, convicted of all charges 8:55

(CNN) -

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd found the former police officer guilty of all the charges he was charged with.

Here we explain what each one means.


felony misdemeanor charge

alleges that Chauvin caused Floyd's death "unintentionally" while committing or attempting to commit a crime of assault in the third degree.

In turn, third degree assault is defined as the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm.

The charge of

unintentional manslaughter with contempt for life

 maintains that Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and by displaying a depraved mind, without regard for human life."


accidental manslaughter


 maintains that Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "negligent negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk and knowingly risks causing death or great bodily harm."

Witnesses say they feel guilty for Floyd's death 3:06

All of the charges involved prosecutors showing that Chauvin's actions were not objectively reasonable and that they were a substantial cause of Floyd's death.

However, the charges differ mainly in how they interpret their intent and mindset during Floyd's arrest.


Chauvin had pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

The charges were considered separately, so Floyd could be convicted by all (as it happened), some or none.

Chauvin could face 40 years in prison for unintentional manslaughter in the commission of a felony, up to 25 years for unintentional manslaughter with disregard for life and up to 10 years for accidental manslaughter.

However, the actual sentences would be much lower, as Chauvin has no prior convictions.

Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend about 12.5 years in prison for each unintentional manslaughter charge and about four years for the accidental manslaughter charge.

The judge will ultimately decide the exact duration and if they are met at the same time or consecutively.

The sentence will be known in eight weeks.

Van Jones' reaction to Derek Chauvin's verdict 1:28

What do the charges against Derek Chauvin have in common?

Central to all charges is causation, meaning that Chauvin was a substantial causal factor in Floyd's death.

  • How was Derek Chauvin's career?

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To prove that point, prosecutors presented the testimony of five doctors who said that Floyd died from lack of oxygen due to Chauvin restraining Floyd in handcuffs on his stomach, known as "positional asphyxia."

Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who performed Floyd's autopsy, stated that police restraint and restraint was the leading cause of his death.

However, he also listed Floyd's hypertensive and arteriosclerotic heart disease, fentanyl poisoning, and methamphetamine use as important conditions.

Other medical experts on the prosecution were more forceful.

Witness to Floyd's arrest: A man was being killed 4:02

"A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died," said Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist and intensive care physician who explained the physiology of breathing.

The defense tried to undermine that by highlighting Floyd's drug use and his underlying heart problems.

He suggested that he died during immobilization, but not from Chauvin's actions.

Dr. David Fowler, the former Maryland chief medical examiner, testified for the defense that Floyd's cause of death should have been classified as "undetermined," saying that his underlying heart problems were the primary causes.

  • George Floyd's final official autopsy report says this was the cause of death

"In my opinion, Mr. Floyd suffered a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, or cardiac arrhythmia, due to his atherosclerosis and hypertensive heart disease ... during his restraint and restraint by the police," he said.

Second, all of the charges against Derek Chauvin assume that he used excessive and unreasonable force, against his police training.

To prove it, a handful of police supervisors and experts in the use of force criticized Chauvin kneeling over Floyd, who did not resist and was unconscious for several minutes of restraint.

In particular, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo categorically rejected Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck, stating that “in no way, no shape, is it something that is in politics.

It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.

It claimed that Chauvin violated de-escalation policies, the objectively reasonable use of force, and the obligation to provide assistance.

  • Minneapolis Police Chief Says Derek Chauvin's Actions Were Inappropriate In Any Way Or Shape

The defense, for their part, had argued that Chauvin's actions seemed horrible to bystanders, but that they were within his professional background.

The defense described putting the knee on Chauvin's neck and back as a common ground control technique.

Barry Brodd, an expert on the use of force who testified for the defense, said Chauvin was justified in kneeling over Floyd for more than nine minutes and did not use deadly force.

"I considered Derek Chauvin to be justified and acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current law enforcement regulations in his interactions with Mr. Floyd," said Brodd, a former police officer. .

How do the charges differ?

Each of the three charges interprets Chauvin's intention last May in a slightly different way.

The felony misdemeanor charge occurs when a person commits an underlying crime and someone is involuntarily killed.

This charge implies that the jury found that Chauvin intended to assault Floyd and inflict substantial bodily harm on him.

The unintentional murder with contempt for life charge alleges that Chauvin had a "depraved mind, without regard for human life."

The essence of the depraved mind is "extreme recklessness," according to Richard Frase, professor of criminal law at the University of Minnesota School of Law.

The charge is generally used in cases where a person drives a vehicle in the wrong direction or fires a gun into a crowd.

This murder charge was dismissed by the judge last year, but was reinstated in March following an appeal case related to the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.

Finally, the accidental manslaughter charge against Derek Chauvin hinges on "culpable negligence", which has been interpreted as gross negligence combined with recklessness.

Chauvin used his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defense.

Therefore, to understand it, the jurors relied on the entirety of the evidence, including Chauvin's videos of Floyd, as well as his subsequent comments to defend their actions.

For example, in a rebuttal of the defense's closing arguments, prosecution attorney Jerry Blackwell told the jury to look at Chauvin's body language.

"This was not a face of fear, concern or concern," he said.

The defense has also argued that Chauvin behaved as he did because he was distracted by a hostile crowd of passersby.

Chauvin may not have acted exactly as he was trained, according to this theory, but the hostility of the crowd does not offer a criminal explanation as to why.

However, bystanders stated that no one threatened the officers and that they only raised their voices because Floyd appeared to be in an increasingly serious condition.

Additionally, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and use of force expert for the prosecution stated that he does not believe Chauvin was distracted because he was directly interacting with what Floyd was saying.

George Floyd Trial

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-04-21

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