A verdict for history.
As with the Rodney King affair in 1992 or during the OJ Simpson trial in 1995, the jurors having to pronounce on the responsibility of Derek Chauvin in the death of Georges Floyd knew that their decision was awaited by the whole world and could especially impact on American society.
And after a short day
during deliberation, they found him guilty of murder.
His sentence will be known in several weeks.
After the announcement of the admission of his guilt, Derek Chauvin left the court in handcuffs to be imprisoned.
Derek Chauvin was also being prosecuted on two other counts, for which he was also convicted. Namely the counts of manslaughter and intentional violence resulting in death. He therefore faces a 40-year prison sentence. In the wake of this announcement, scenes of jubilation were visible in Minneapolis, when several hundred people were found in court pending the verdict.
“You must be absolutely impartial,” Judge Peter Cahill told them, who invited them to “examine the evidence, weigh it and apply the law” at the end of this extraordinary trial.
The images of the death of Georges Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis almost a year ago shocked public opinion and provoked several days of demonstrations and anger in the United States, in particular embodied by the Black Live Matter movement.
Death of George Floyd: Minneapolis at the time of the trial which divides America
Dereck Chauvin, a 45-year-old white police officer, was on trial for murder, manslaughter and intentional violence leading to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American whom he arrested with three other officers for a minor offense.
Chauvin risked up to 40 years in prison for having, for more than nine minutes, kept his knee on the neck of the forty-something, who was lying on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind his back.
"George Floyd begged until he couldn't speak"
"It was a murder, the accused is guilty of the three counts and there is no excuse", had attacked the prosecutor Steve Schleicher, at the conclusion of his indictment, which lasted more than an hour and half. “This case is exactly what you initially thought when watching this video,” he said. “George Floyd begged until he couldn't speak,” he said. "It just needed a little compassion and no one showed any that day," added the prosecutor, criticizing the policeman who remained impassive in the face of pleas from his victim and passers-by.
But for his lawyer, Derek Chauvin acted in a "reasonable" manner during the eventful arrest of the 40-year-old with the imposing template.
The prosecution having, according to him, failed to provide evidence to the contrary "beyond a reasonable doubt, and Mr. Chauvin must therefore be declared not guilty", Eric Nelson said after nearly three hours of pleading.
According to the lawyer, George Floyd would have died of the combination of heart problems and drug use - fentanyl, an opiate, and methamphetamine, a stimulant - "in the context" of immobilization by the police, but that - This did not cause his death, he said.
Death of George Floyd: Minneapolis police chief overwhelms Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin refused to testify during this trial, making use of the right of any accused in the United States not to give evidence likely to incriminate him.
In a light suit and blue shirt, he had followed the plea without wearing a mask, seeming concentrated without showing any emotion.
Any other decision than a conviction of the policeman made the authorities fear overflows.
As for the three other agents present during the arrest of Georges Floyd, they will be tried in August for "complicity in murder".