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Derek Chauvin sentencing: What to expect as former cop faces judge

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin faces sentencing Friday in the death of George Floyd, with a judge weighing a prison term experts say could be as much as 30 years.

Chauvin, 45, was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe. It was an act captured on bystander video, which prompted protests around the world.

Here’s what to watch for in a hearing that could run as long as two hours:


Under Minnesota statutes, Chauvin will be sentenced only on the most serious charge of second-degree murder. That’s because all of the charges against him stem from one act, with one victim.

The max for that charge is 40 years, but legal experts have said there’s no way he’ll get that much. Case law dictates the practical maximum Chauvin could face is 30 years – double what the high end of state sentencing guidelines suggest. Anything above that risks being overturned on appeal.

Of course, Judge Peter Cahill could sentence Chauvin to much less. Prosecutors have asked for 30 years, while defense attorney Eric Nelson is seeking probation.

Mark Osler, a professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law, said both sides have staked out extreme positions, and the “gulf is huge between them. I don’t think that either side is going to end up getting what they want.”


Minnesota has sentencing guidelines that were created to establish consistent sentences that don’t consider factors such as race or gender. For second-degree unintentional murder, the guideline range for someone with no criminal record goes from 10 years and eight months to up to 15 years. The presumptive sentence is in the middle, at 12 1/2 years.

Cahill last month agreed with prosecutors that aggravating factors in Floyd’s death warrant going higher than the guidelines. The judge found that Chauvin abused his position of authority, treated Floyd with particular cruelty, and that the crime was seen by several children. He also wrote that Chauvin knew the restraint of Floyd was dangerous.

“The prolonged use of this technique was particularly egregious in that George Floyd made it clear he was unable to breathe and expressed the view that he was dying as a result of the officers’ restraint,” Cahill wrote last month.

Osler said Cahill’s finding of aggravating factors showed his willingness to go above the guidelines. But he said those guidelines still function like a tether, and the further Cahill moves from the guidelines, the more the tether stretches. He said a 20- or 25-year sentence is more likely than 30.

Joe Friedberg, a Minneapolis defense attorney who has been watching the case, agreed. He cited a U.S. Supreme Court case, Koon v. United States, in which the court said a judge could consider that a former police officer would likely spend much of his sentence in isolation for his own safety. Cahill might take the harder time into consideration to give Chauvin a little less, Friedberg said.


Minnesota sentencing data for the five years through 2019 show that of 112 people sentenced for the same conviction as Chauvin, only two got maximum 40-year sentences. Both cases involved children who died due to abuse; both defendants had prior criminal records and struck plea deals.

The longest sentence during that time period for someone with no criminal history like Chauvin was 36 years, in another case involving the death of a child due to abuse. The sentence was appealed but upheld, with an appellate court finding it “was not excessive when a 13-month-old child was beaten to death.”


Attorneys on both sides are expected to make brief arguments. Victims or family members of victims can also make statements about how they’ve been affected, but none have said publicly that they will.

Chauvin can talk if he wants, but it’s not clear if he will. Experts say it could be tricky for Chauvin to talk without implicating himself in a pending federal case accusing him of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

While some experts say Chauvin won’t talk, Mike Brandt, another defense attorney watching the case, said he thinks Chauvin will speak, and that he can say a few words without getting himself into legal trouble. “If I was him, I think I would want to try and let people know that I’m not a monster.”

Community members can submit impact statements online, and they may become part of the public record.


Cahill will look at arguments submitted by both sides, as well as victim impact statements, community impact statements, a pre-sentence investigation into Chauvin’s past, and any statement Chauvin might make.

When judges hear from defendants, they are typically looking to see if the person takes responsibility for the crime or shows remorse. Friedberg, the defense attorney, said he doubts any statement from Chauvin would affect Cahill’s sentence.

“In state court sentencing in Minnesota it just doesn’t seem to matter to the judges what anybody says at the time of sentencing,” Friedberg said. “When they come out on the bench they will have already decided what the sentence will be.”


No matter what sentence Chauvin gets, in Minnesota it’s presumed that a defendant with good behavior will serve two-thirds in prison and the rest on supervised release, commonly known as parole.

That means if Chauvin is sentenced to 30 years, he would likely serve 20 behind bars, as long as he causes no problems in prison. Once on supervised release, he could be sent back to prison if he violates conditions of his parole.

Since his April conviction, Chauvin has been held at the state’s only maximum security prison, in Oak Park Heights. That’s unusual – people don’t typically go to a prison while waiting for sentencing – but Chauvin is there for security reasons. He has been on “administrative segregation” for his safety and has been in a 10 foot-by-10 foot cell, away from the general population. He has meals brought to his room, and is allowed out for solitary exercise for an average of one hour a day.

It wasn’t immediately clear where he would serve his time after he is sentenced. The Department of Corrections will place Chauvin after Cahill’s formal sentencing order commits Chauvin to its custody.

RELATED | Floyd family attorney shares how long he believes Derek Chauvin’s sentence will be

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What To Know About Derek Chauvin's Sentencing

April 20, 2021, 6:01 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

After talking a call from President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, George Floyd’s family walks into a Hilton ballroom with their attorney, Ben Crump. Crump repeats chants of “Say his name!” The family responds by yelling: “George Floyd!”

April 20, 2021, 6:00 p.m. ET

Speaking after the verdict in a news conference with Minnesota’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, several members of the prosecution team that tried Derek Chauvin spoke directly of George Floyd. “He was somebody,” said Jerry Blackwell, the lawyer who delivered the prosecution’s final words to the jury on Monday. “His life mattered.”

April 20, 2021, 5:56 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

Thinking back, I cannot recall (as Emily has already mentioned), any verdict awaited with such collective bated breath since the O.J. Simpson trial. Interestingly, the Simpson jury returned its verdict — not guilty — in even less time than the Derek Chauvin jury: not much more than four hours.

April 20, 2021, 5:52 p.m. ET

The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, far right, before he was convicted of murder on Tuesday.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Judge Peter A. Cahill revoked Derek Chauvin’s bail on Tuesday after he was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who has been free on bail since the fall, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and remanded into the custody of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

Judge Cahill said he expected to begin a sentencing hearing in about eight weeks. Mr. Chauvin was convicted on all three counts he faced at trial — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Because Mr. Chauvin has no criminal history, the sentencing guidelines for each of the murder charges is 12.5 years. But the maximum sentences for each charge differ: Second-degree murder can result in a term as long as 40 years, while the maximum for third-degree murder is 25 years.

April 20, 2021, 5:51 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who testified in the trial, emphasized that the push for justice should not end with this verdict. “I know that he gave his life so that other people’s cases can get reopened,” Ms. Ross said outside of the building in Minneapolis where Derek Chauvin was convicted.

April 20, 2021, 5:50 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

The jury could have convicted Chauvin or any combination of manslaughter, third-degree murder or second-degree murder, but chose “all of the above.” When that happens, it raises questions about whether the theory of the conviction is internally coherent. In this case, could Chauvin be guilty of 1) causing the death of a human being, without intent, while committing an assault (second-degree murder) AND 2) unintentionally causing a death by committing an act that is eminently dangerous to other persons while exhibiting a depraved mind, with reckless disregard for human life (third-degree murder) AND 3) creating an unreasonable risk, by consciously taking the chance of causing death or great bodily harm to someone else (manslaughter)? I’d say the answer is probably yes, but I confess I’m still absorbing all the legal jargon.

April 20, 2021, 5:48 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

It needs to be said that the anxious anticipation that preceded today’s verdict was itself an indication of just how difficult it is in general to convict police officers. The death of George Floyd was captured — excruciatingly — on video. And yet up until the moment the verdict was read, there was a widespread feeling that it could have gone either way.

April 20, 2021, 5:46 p.m. ET

Reporting from New York

Though his eyes darted from side to side, Derek Chauvin showed little emotion as the judge read the jury’s verdict, mirroring his almost stone-faced reaction to the trial in general. After the judge denied bail, Mr. Chauvin, who has been free on bail since October, nodded his head, stood up and placed his hands behind his back to be handcuffed — as though he had rehearsed it. Judge Peter Cahill said sentencing would take place in eight weeks.

April 20, 2021, 5:40 p.m. ET

Women embraced outside the Hennepin County Government Center after the guilty verdicts were announced.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin found him guilty on all three charges he faced: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

How much prison time Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, will have to serve will not be decided until several weeks from now, after a pre-sentencing report about Mr. Chauvin’s background is produced. Judge Peter A. Cahill will also have to determine whether there were special circumstances of the crime that would justify a lengthier sentence than the prison terms laid out by Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines.

Because Mr. Chauvin has no criminal history, the sentencing guidelines for each of the murder charges is 12.5 years. But the maximum sentences for each charge differ: Second-degree murder could mean as long as 40 years in prison, while the maximum for third-degree murder is 25 years.

Mr. Chauvin is also charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but under the guidelines he would most likely be sentenced to four years.

Before Mr. Chauvin was convicted, the state asked for a lengthier sentence should he be convicted of any of the charges — what is known as an “upward sentencing departure” — citing aggravating factors including, the state has said in court filings, that the killing of Mr. Floyd happened in the presence of children, that Mr. Floyd was treated with “particular cruelty” by Mr. Chauvin, and that Mr. Chauvin, as a police officer, “abused his position of authority.”

Mr. Chauvin had the option of having the jury rule on the aggravating factors or putting it in the hands of Judge Cahill. At the end of closing arguments on Monday, Mr. Chauvin waived his right to have the jury decide, putting the decision on sentencing solely in the hands of Judge Cahill.

April 20, 2021, 5:39 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

The next issue in this case is Derek Chauvin’s sentence. After George Floyd died last May, former Attorney General William Barr refused to approve a plea bargain that reportedly would have sent Chauvin to prison for at least 10 years. (Barr said he was worried in part that protesters would see the deal as too lenient, an official said then.) Did Barr make a good decision no matter what, given the clarity the trial provided? Or will his call seem questionable if Chauvin’s sentence is not significantly more than 10 years? He faces as many as 40.

April 20, 2021, 5:38 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

While it is impossible to know at this early stage what facts or arguments proved decisive to the jury, the closing statement on Monday by prosecutor Steve Schleicher was a prime example of simplicity and clarity. By my lights, Schleicher hit on two important themes that may have resonated with jurors.

April 20, 2021, 5:39 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

First, he described the Derek Chauvin case, counter-intuitively, as a pro-police, not an anti-police, prosecution. What he meant was that holding this one officer accountable was in fact good for officers everywhere. Second, Schleicher asked the jurors to trust their own instincts and believe what they saw on video had actually happened. He encouraged them to use simple common sense.

April 20, 2021, 5:29 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

The Hennepin County district attorney’s office originally had the Derek Chauvin case before the state attorney general’s office took over. The facts laid out in the D.A.’s complaint were much more favorable to Chauvin than the attorney general’s case, which went to trial. The shift in prosecutors’ offices might have made a difference in securing a conviction.

April 20, 2021, 5:36 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

Alan, thank you for noting the difference between the D.A.‘s original complaint and the state A.G.’s. It shows how important prosecutors are. They have so much discretion, always. When Keith Ellison, the Minnesota A.G., took over the case, it was seen as an unusual maneuver. But a state A.G. has more distance from local police than a D.A.

April 20, 2021, 5:27 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

It is literally raining money at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, the memorial to the spot where Floyd was killed. Someone has just “made it rain,” and dollar bills are everywhere.

April 20, 2021, 5:26 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Just south of the courthouse, at the hotel where George Floyd’s family and their lawyer, Ben Crump, are set to speak shortly, church bells can be heard tolling.

April 20, 2021, 5:30 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

About two dozen reporters are waiting for the Floyd family at the Hilton ballroom. Sixteen seats have been set out for speakers. Expect a large crowd, including the Rev Al. Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders.

April 20, 2021, 5:22 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Tears dripped onto Janay Henry’s black mask shortly after the verdict as she stood steps away from the spot where George Floyd was killed. “I’m overjoyed and just a little overwhelmed,” she said. “There was so much doubt in my mind we wouldn’t make it. I’m super grateful we can rest tonight.” Henry wore a burgundy T-shirt that read, “I’m Black mixed with Black.”

April 20, 2021, 5:21 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

Conventional wisdom has long held that short deliberations favor the prosecution. It was right in the case of Derek Chauvin. The jury deliberated for not much more than 10 hours altogether, a remarkably brief period given that Mr. Chauvin was facing three charges, each of which was legally complex. Before the jurors were sequestered and began their discussion, Judge Peter Cahill gave them extended instructions, and yet they asked no questions of him at all.

April 20, 2021, 5:26 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

I’m not surprised that the jury worked quickly. The video of George Floyd’s killing said so much. The police testimony made it clear that Chauvin’s actions were not those of a “reasonable officer,” the legal standard that lets many cops off the hook for use of force. Once the prosecution made a strong showing on the cause of death, based on the medical evidence, I’m not sure what hope the defense really had.

April 20, 2021, 5:17 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

Perhaps in one sense this guilty verdict will be remembered as the inverse of another landmark verdict — in O.J. Simpson’s 1995 murder trial. When O.J. was found not guilty in 1995, public response split along racial lines. The reaction to today’s decision, by contrast, could be fairly unified — a largely shared feeling of relief that justice has been done. After all, the protests after the killing of George Floyd last summer had broad public support.

April 20, 2021, 5:17 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

For all of the obvious emotional import of today’s verdict in the case of Derek Chauvin — guilty on all charges — jury decisions are imperfect tools for understanding larger social movements.Trials by definition decide the guilt or innocence of individual defendants. It is certainly tempting to read a deeper and broader significance into them, but it is also risky to do so.

April 20, 2021, 5:20 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

The conviction last year, for instance, of the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, while widely read as a test of the strength of the #MeToo movement, hardly signaled the end of men’s abuse of women. In a similar vein, the conviction of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in 2019 had virtually no on-the-ground effect on the Mexican drug trade.

April 20, 2021, 5:21 p.m. ET

Reporting on criminal justice

And when the Islamic terrorists who blew up two U.S. embassies in Africa were convicted in May 2001, it was broadly understood to have struck decisive a blow against Al Qaeda. Four months later, the terror group successfully launched the Sept. 11 attacks.

April 20, 2021, 5:22 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

Alan, agreed. It’s tempting to draw grand conclusions about the justice system when the most obviously condemnable acts are condemned. But trials should not be read beyond the facts of a case and its moment in time.

April 20, 2021, 5:11 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

At George Floyd Square, the memorial to where Floyd was killed, a woman nearly collapses in tears. When she straightens, she manages to croak out, “We matter. We matter.”

April 20, 2021, 5:12 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The crowd starts chanting one down, three to go — a reference to the three other officers who will face charges in George Floyd’s death in August.

April 20, 2021, 5:10 p.m. ET

Reporting from Chicago

Derek Chauvin was placed in handcuffs in the courtroom and led away after the verdict was read.

April 20, 2021, 5:10 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Outside the building in Minneapolis where the verdict was read, there was a shout — “Guilty!” — and then an eruption of cheers. When all the counts came back guilty, the cheer changed: “All three counts!”

April 20, 2021, 5:07 p.m. ET

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of two counts of murder on Tuesday in the death of George Floyd, whose final breaths last May under the knee of Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, were captured on video, setting off months of protests against the police abuse of Black people.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days following an emotional trial that lasted three weeks, the jury found Mr. Chauvin, who is white, guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, on a street corner last year on Memorial Day.

Mr. Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced in the coming weeks but is likely to receive far less time. The presumptive sentence for second-degree murder is 12.5 years, according to Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, although the state has asked for a higher sentence.

The verdict was read in court and broadcast live to the nation on television, as the streets around the heavily fortified courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, ringed by razor wire and guarded by National Guard soldiers, filled with people awaiting the verdict.

For a country whose legal system rarely holds police officers to account for killing on the job, especially when the victims are Black people, the case was a milestone and its outcome a sign, perhaps, that the death of Mr. Floyd has moved the country toward more accountability for police abuses and more equality under the law.

The city has been on edge for weeks as the trial progressed and the city awaited the verdict, with many worrying that a not guilty ruling would bring renewed social unrest and chaos to a city that saw buildings set ablaze and widespread looting last year following the death of Mr. Floyd.

After the verdict was read, Judge Peter A. Cahill ordered that Mr. Chauvin, who has been free on bail since last fall, be immediately taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies. Mr. Chauvin was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs and will be sentenced in eight weeks following the completion of a pre-sentencing report about his background.

April 20, 2021, 5:07 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

This case proved to be the exception to the rule in a few ways. Most important, an officer’s wrongdoing was so shockingly apparent that a jury convicted him despite the high hurdles to convicting the police for use of force.

April 20, 2021, 5:07 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

And because of Minnesota’s unusual felony-murder statute, the prosecution won a second-degree murder conviction without having to prove that Derek Chauvin intended to kill George Floyd. (The jury merely had to find that Chauvin intended to commit an assault that could cause bodily harm. That counted as the felony in felony murder.)

April 20, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ET

Reporting on legal issues

Also, the case went to trial. In many states, more than 95 percent of convictions are obtained not through trials, but through plea bargains. Trials capture our imagination by providing a detailed narrative and public record. But plea bargains are very much the norm.

April 20, 2021, 5:07 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Cheers erupt at the corner where George Floyd was killed as the verdict is read.

April 20, 2021, 5:07 p.m. ET

Reporting from Chicago

The jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

April 20, 2021, 5:07 p.m. ET

Reporting from Chicago

The jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

April 20, 2021, 5:06 p.m. ET

Reporting from Chicago

The jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

April 20, 2021, 5:05 p.m. ET

Reporting from Chicago

Judge Peter Cahill has entered the courtroom, signalling that the verdict will be read momentarily.

April 20, 2021, 4:28 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

When the alert went out from the court about 2:30 p.m. local time that a verdict had been reached and would be read in an hour, residents, activists and journalists descended on the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. For weeks, the space had been eerily quiet, as buildings were boarded up and office workers stayed home. But suddenly on Tuesday afternoon there were traffic jams and the feel of an anxious street festival, with everyone waiting to see what would happen.

April 20, 2021, 4:27 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Outside of the building where the jury’s verdict is about to be read, Courteney Ross, who was George Floyd’s girlfriend and who testified in the trial, says she is confident that Derek Chauvin will be convicted of second-degree murder, the most severe charge he is facing. “I am convinced that there is going to be a guilty verdict coming,” Ms. Ross tells reporters.

April 20, 2021, 4:14 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Employees at Cup Foods, the store outside of which George Floyd died, were rushing to close up their business before the verdict was read this afternoon. “Safety’s more important,” said Billy Abumayyaleh, one of the owners, as he stared at a television playing the news of preparations for the verdict. “As long as we get a guilty verdict, that’s all that matters.”

April 20, 2021, 4:17 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

“Just on edge about seeing what it’s going to be,” Raykel Neubert said as she worked on someone’s cellphone at Cup Foods. Neubert witnessed Mr. Floyd being pinned in the street by Derek Chauvin last year and has been shaken ever since.

April 20, 2021, 4:12 p.m. ET

Reporting from Chicago

The jury’s verdict is expected to be read between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time.

April 20, 2021, 4:10 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin is now at the courthouse with his lawyer, per a pool reporter, waiting for the jury’s verdict to be read.

April 20, 2021, 3:31 p.m. ET







Derek Chauvin Found Guilty of Murder

The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose killing sparked nationwide protests.

Members of the jury, I will now read the verdicts as they will appear in the permanent records of the Fourth Judicial District: State of Minnesota, County of Hennepin District Court, Fourth Judicial District, state of Minnesota, plaintiff versus Derrick Michael Chauvin, defendant, verdict Count 1, court file No. 27, CR-2012646. We, the jury, in the above entitled matter as to Count 1, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty. We, the jury, in the above entitled matter as to Count 2, third-degree murder, perpetrating an eminently dangerous act, find the defendant guilty. We, the jury, in the above entitled matter as to Count 3, second-degree manslaughter, culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty. Bail is revoked, bond is discharged, and the defendant is remanded to the custody of the Hennepin County sheriff. We’re adjourned.

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The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose killing sparked nationwide protests.CreditCredit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, and its decision will be read between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time.

Mr. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The presumptive sentence for the most serious of the charges, second-degree unintentional murder, is 12.5 years, according to Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines. But the prosecution has asked for a lengthier sentence, arguing that there were children present at the scene, that Mr. Chauvin treated Mr. Floyd with “particular cruelty,” and that Mr. Chauvin “abused his position of authority.”

The verdict comes the day after lawyers gave their closing arguments, the culmination of three weeks of witness testimonies that were livestreamed to a large audience. The 12-person jury heard from 45 witnesses in total, 38 from the prosecution and seven from Mr. Chauvin’s defense.

Among them was a young woman who used her cellphone to videotape the arrest of Mr. Floyd, which infuriated many Americans who saw his death as an emblem of racial injustice. A wave of protests — possibly the largest in American history — washed over the country in the weeks and months that followed.

Other witnesses included use-of-force experts, the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, paramedics who responded to the scene and medical experts, including a pulmonologist and a cardiologist.

During closing arguments, prosecutors asked jurors to “believe your eyes” and the feelings they had while watching the wrenching videos of Mr. Floyd’s final moments under the knee of Mr. Chauvin. The defense argued that Mr. Chauvin was acting as any reasonable police officer would, and said the state had ignored other possible contributing factors to Mr. Floyd’s death, including heart problems and drug use.

In Minneapolis, tensions are high as the public awaits the jury’s verdict. More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen have been deployed to the city, and on Monday law enforcement agencies and community organizations asked for peace.

April 20, 2021, 2:59 p.m. ET

Members of the Minnesota State Patrol surrounding a Target store during protests over the death of George Floyd last May. 
Credit…Craig Lassig/EPA, via Shutterstock

As jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial finished their first hours of deliberation on Monday night, Tracy Wiggins was putting his daughter to bed at their home in south Minneapolis and worrying about what would happen next in the case that has catalyzed American concerns over race and policing.

“As a Black man in America, none of this surprises me,” said Mr. Wiggins, 52, who works in project management for Target, one of the city’s biggest companies. “I’ve been told all my life this is how the world is. The newness is for other people.”

Mr. Wiggins, who grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., and served six years in the Marine Corps, said he and his wife have followed the trial in fits and starts during their busy remote workdays. He was surprised to see so many police officers, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, testify that Mr. Chauvin’s actions violated Minneapolis Police Department policy.

“You usually don’t see police department officials come out and speak against a current or former police officer,” Mr. Wiggins said. “That was striking early on.”

Minneapolis has been on edge for weeks in anticipation of a verdict. The city has stepped up security, erected fences and barricades and called in more than 3,000 National Guard troops.

Mr. Wiggins said the damage to property, including at stores owned by his employer, during the protests following Mr. Floyd’s death last summer was perhaps a necessary evil, given the harm that has come to Black people at the hands of law enforcement for generations.

“As unfortunate as it is, if that’s what it takes to institute change, then so be it,” he said. “To save lives in the long term, I can’t say that I’m opposed to it.”

Mr. Wiggins said he hoped that a greater understanding of the discrimination that Black people face could lead to meaningful change. “I’m a little concerned that there will be a backlash, like there was with affirmative action in the ’80s,” he said, “but I’m cautiously optimistic.”

April 20, 2021, 1:40 p.m. ET

National Guard members and Minneapolis police officers standing guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Cities across the country are preparing for protests as the jury in the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin entered its second day of deliberations on Tuesday. With the memory of last summer’s protests after George Floyd’s death still fresh, some states have ordered National Guard troops to be on standby in anticipation of large protests if there is an acquittal.

Police chiefs are urging protesters to be peaceful, and businesses in many cities, from Indianapolis to Los Angeles to New York, are boarding up windows. The courthouse where the trial is being held is surrounded by razor-wire, fencing, concrete barriers and dozens of National Guard troops.

It will be up to each governor to decide whether troops or law enforcement will be necessary to help with possible protests. So far, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., have done so.

Here’s how cities are preparing:

  • Minneapolis: On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz declared a “peacetime emergency” and said that state troopers from Nebraska and Ohio would come to Minneapolis to help overwhelmed local and state law enforcement. There are already 3,000 National Guard troops in Minneapolis and 1,000 law enforcement officers, including state troopers. The force is patrolling the downtown and metropolitan areas.

    Construction workers boarded up dozens of additional buildings downtown on Tuesday morning. The local police and sheriff’s deputies patrolled the streets in squad cars near the courthouse, focusing on shopping centers. And businesses set up additional concrete barriers and fencing, making it harder to access parking lots and entrances. Some businesses have taken to spray painting or posting signs to alert customers that they are open, even if windows appear covered. On one corner downtown, at least six National Guard Humvees were parked with about a dozen guards.

  • Washington, D.C.: On Monday, the National Guard was called up in case of protests through May 9, according to a news release. Last summer, the Guard used chemical irritants, including tear gas, and a helicopter to try to clear Lafayette Square, the plaza in front of the White House, drawing criticism about the heavy-handed policing of the protests.

  • Chicago: Gov. JB Pritzker ordered state troopers and 125 National Guard troops to help law enforcement in Chicago. The authorities in Chicago were already on edge after the police released a video of an officer shooting Adam Toledo, an unarmed 13-year-old boy, on April 16. The protests so far have been peaceful. But last summer, the city took to raising the bridges in downtown Chicago to prevent protests from reaching major retailers, fearing violence similar to that in Minneapolis.

  • New York: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hasn’t ordered National Guard troops to New York City. Last summer, the city’s Police Department, which has more than 30,000 officers, handled the protests after Mr. Floyd’s death. The first nights of protests last year ended in sporadic violence and looting in SoHo and Midtown.

April 20, 2021, 1:23 p.m. ET

The George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis last summer.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

As jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial consider a verdict, Minnesota’s largest employers are bracing for a reopening of last summer’s wounds.

George Floyd’s killing ignited violence and unrest last summer that forced Target to shutter a number of its stores and limit hours in others. More broadly, it set off a social reckoning across corporate America, as business leaders sought to address racial inequity both within their own walls and the community at large. In Minnesota, more than 80 companies including General Mills, Best Buy and 3M started the Minnesota Business Coalition for Racial Equity aimed at improving outcomes for the state’s Black community.

As the state gears up for the possibility of renewed unrest, a spokesman for Target said the retailer was “closely monitoring the trial and any surrounding activity,” but did not indicate any plans to close stores in advance of a verdict.

The majority of the company’s headquarters work force is already working from home, but for those employees still in its main office and stores downtown, “we’ve communicated to them about the trial, shared that we’re monitoring closely and let them know we’ll reach out if there’s any impact to our business,” the Target spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for General Mills, which sells its Cheerios and other baked goods around the world, said the company remained focused on broader issues facing the company and country.

“As a global company headquartered in Minneapolis, we understand the nation is in a long overdue conversation on systemic racism,” she said. “Further, we know we have a role to play and all of us have a lot of work to do on this count.” The company’s top priority is communicating its “support and allyship” to its employees, she said.

Minnesota’s largest company by revenue, UnitedHealth Group, is “offering training for managers to have conversations with their teams, and seminars focused on empathy and compassion,” a spokesman said. “Our priority during this period is supporting our employees who continue to be affected in different ways by this case.”

At 3M, which makes products across a broad array of industries, the company has increased resources in its employee assistance program, a spokesman said. “We continue to have, and encourage, open discussions with our colleagues to listen, understand, and act, as needed.”

April 20, 2021, 12:54 p.m. ET







‘Praying the Verdict Is the Right Verdict,’ Biden Tells Floyd Family

President Biden disclosed the details of a phone call he shared with the family of George Floyd, as the family awaits the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing Mr. Floyd.

I’ve come to know George’s family, not just in passing. I’ve spent time with them. I spent time with his little daughter, Gianna. You should see this beautiful child and his brother, both brothers, matter of fact. And so I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling. And so I waited till the jury was sequestered, and then I called, and as I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but Philonise said today on television, they accurately said it was a private conversation because Joe understands what it’s like to go through loss, and they’re a good family. And they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict which is — I think it’s overwhelming in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now — you wouldn’t hear me say that. But so, we just talked. I wanted to know how they were doing, just personally, and we talked about personal things.

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President Biden disclosed the details of a phone call he shared with the family of George Floyd, as the family awaits the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing Mr. Floyd.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Biden called the family of George Floyd on Monday to express his support and sympathy, telling reporters on Tuesday that the evidence against the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was “overwhelming” and that he was praying for the “right verdict.” Hours later, a jury found Mr. Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

It is highly unusual for a president to weigh in on behalf of a specific outcome in a judicial proceeding. On Monday, Peter A. Cahill, the Minnesota state judge who is presiding in the case, warned politicians to refrain from commenting on the outcome after Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, urged demonstrators to mobilize in anticipation of the verdict.

“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling, so I waited till the jury was sequestered,” Mr. Biden said of his conversation with the Floyd family during brief remarks in the Oval Office.







From Rodney King to George Floyd: Reliving the Scars of Police Violence

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing. But cycles of protests over systemic racism and policing are not new. We watched the trial with the families of Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Stephon Clark to see this moment in history through their eyes.

“May it please the court. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning. The video evidence, I think, will be very helpful and meaningful to you because you can see it for yourself without lawyer talk, lawyer spin, lawyer anything. You can see it for yourself.” “Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please, man. Please somebody help me. Please. I’m about to die in this thing.” “Oh my God.” “What did he say?” “He said, I’m about to die. Oh my God.” “While watching the George Floyd trial, I noticed the differences and the importance of footage.” “This corner —” “When Stephon was murdered, we only had the officers’ footage. We only had their point of view.” “Hey, show your hands.” “You know, when my son was killed being on the platform, there was several bystanders that filmed. And had it not been for the cameras, we wouldn’t even be here today because they would have probably said it was justified.” “Bro, with your feet on his head, man. You knee on his neck.” “He’s pushing harder.” “Yeah.” “I cannot breathe.” “A little bit more. Right here.” “I don’t watch the footage of my dad’s incident because it’s torture.” “You see the officers giving a trove of blows to his body?” “Yes.” “To his arms, to his torso, to his legs.” “Here it is 30 years later, nothing has changed.” “Now who are you going to believe? The defendants or your own eyes?” “I am watching the George Floyd case with my best friend, Tiffany, at her home.” “Oh my gosh.” “Wow.” “And he’s still on his neck.” “Today was the first time I watched the entire video of George Floyd, and it definitely made me think about my dad begging for his life screaming.” “Check his pulse. Check his pulse.” “His daughter was the same age I was when my dad was beaten.” “My name is Lora Dene King. I’m the middle child of Rodney Glen King.” “The world saw the videotape.” “We thought the video showed excessive force and unnecessary force.” “With that videotape, if they had two eyes and they weren’t blind, you could see that it was excessive force.” “The defense tried to dilute the impact of the tape by dissecting it, frame by frame, in an effort to show that King was a threat to the officers.” “He kind of gave out like a bear-like yell, like a wounded animal. If he had grabbed my officer, it would have been a death grip. If he had grabbed the weapon, he would have had numerous targets.” “He didn’t grab anybody during these events, did he?” “No sir, he did not.” “He couldn’t walk. He had 50 broken bones. His skull was permanently fractured. He had permanent brain damage. My dad was never the same after that. You know, and everybody just considered him to be normal. I think if that happened to anybody, they wouldn’t be normal ever again.” “This doesn’t just affect the person it happened to. It also affects all those people who are out there watching it. They’re all affected forever.” “I was desperate to help.” “I was just kind of emotional, and I went to the African-American that was standing there on the curb. And I was just like, they’re not going to help them.” “Oh my God.” “This man, he witnessed another African-American man getting his life taken. The nine-year-old speaker on the trial.” “Good morning, [inaudible].” “Good morning.” “Which one is you?” “Just so happened to be walking down the street. She will never forget that for the rest of her life.” “You ultimately ended up posting your video to social media, right?” “Correct.” “And it went viral?” “Correct.” “It changed your life, right?” “The girl who filmed George Floyd, the fact that there was nothing she can do to save his life.” “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.” “That’s something that will haunt her like George Holliday, who captured my dad’s video.” “Without George Holliday, these four officers might not be on trial.” “He just wanted to test this new camera he had. Like, oh let me take — he stood there shaking, terrified. And he still suffers to this day because that was the right thing to do.” “What could he have done to deserve that?” “If I was to see George Floyd’s daughter today, I wish there was something I can say. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. Because I’m sure she’s watched that videotape. And that’s something that carries in your mental every everyday, just like my dad’s video tape.” “For the jury, a difficult decision ahead, knowing that to acquit the four officers could ignite this city.” “Not guilty of —” Chanting: “No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.” “And damage to the city of Los Angeles running into billions of dollars.” “That’s what I’m saying. The police, they don’t pay a cent for this trial. So my mother and I, we was watching the George Floyd’s trial. And it brought back so many memories of my son Oscar’s case. Oscar’s last picture in his cellphone was of the officer who shot him.” “My name is Wanda Johnson. I’m the mother of Oscar Grant.” “Grant was shot once in the back as he lay face down on the train station’s platform.” “He was unarmed.” “The 27-year-old officer has said he thought he had drawn his Taser gun —” “— but accidentally pulled out his handgun instead.” “And the incident was captured on cellphone video.” “Video speaks for themselves. And the jury will see that and make the correct decision.” “We knew that we would have a very hard time winning in the court systems because the judicial system was not made for everyone in the society.” “As the situation went on, the crowd began to grow and grow.” “Oh my goodness, the same playbook that they used for what happened with Oscar, they used the same thing for George Floyd. Oh, there was a crowd of angry mob people.” “They were behind them. There were people across the street, people yelling.” “We don’t know if they were going to attack us. I thought about the young man testifying in George Floyd’s case.” “You grew angrier and angrier.” “Calling the police on the police.” “911, what’s the address of the emergency?” “How do you have somebody investigate those that they work with? Of course you’re going to find that they’re going to believe the people that they work with quicker than they will believe the citizens who are filing the complaint.” “Would you like to speak with those sergeants?” “Yeah, I’d like to. He was unresponsive. He wasn’t resisting arrest or any of this.” “OK, one second.” “Murderers, bro. Y’all are just murderers, bro.” “You know, when we was going to jury trial for Oscar, they would ask questions like, ‘Do you know anybody who went to jail? Do you know anybody who had an encounter with the police?’ And as soon as the person said that, they would strike them from being a juror, right? Having a jury that consists of different backgrounds, it could help with the decision-making of innocent or guilty.” “The 27-year-old officer —” “— pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.” “His trial had been moved to Los Angeles over concerns of racial tension and intense media scrutiny.” “Everybody, let’s just pray for one minute.” “Father God, we come to you and your son named Jesus Christ. Father, we ask the people that see this —” “Every time I come to my mom’s house, I’m reminded that my son was killed here.” “My name is Sequette Clark. I’m the mother of Stephon Clark.” “22-year-old Stephon Clark was fatally shot while running from police.” “Clark was see evading authorities after allegedly smashing a car window.” “He was shot eight times in his grandmother’s backyard.” “Police apparently thinking he was holding a gun, now say it was a cellphone.” “Out of fear for their own lives, they fired their service weapon.” “And following the incident, officers manually muted their body cameras at times.” “Move over this way.” “As we watched the George Floyd trial, I invited particular members of my family because you can’t address something in the community or the city or the nation until you address it at home with the family.” “When Mr. Floyd was in distress, Mr. Chauvin wouldn’t help him, didn’t help him.” “So that’s just how they left my boy out there. They handcuffed him after he was dead.” “Excessive force.” “Excessive force and lethal force after the fact of death. I felt saddened, heavy, drained. I felt as if I was a slave 400 years ago. Just hearing how he was dead, seeing how he was dead. And then to turn around and hear the defense’s attempt to bring up the fact that we should not focus on the —” “— 9 minutes and 29 seconds —” “— that it took to kill George Floyd. But we should focus on what went on ahead of that. Anything that does not deal directly with the murder of George Floyd is irrelevant in my opinion.” “He’s 6 to 6 and a half feet tall. You did not know that he had taken heroin. Mr. Floyd did use a counterfeit $ 20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Mr. Floyd put drugs in his mouth.” “Poppa’s already dead. George Floyd is already dead.” “That’s right. That’s right.” “So now you’re resurrecting him just to kill him all over again.” “Basically.” “Defame him in order to justify the wrongdoing of your officers, reminded me exactly of what the district attorney did to Stephon.” “The cellphone examination revealed a domestic violence incident that happened with the mother of his children. Texts and phone calls showing that he was seeking drugs and a photograph of his hand holding 10 Xanax pills.” “What was on his cellphone has zero to do with the actions of the police officers at the time of his homicide. I feel like it’s a bittersweet thing that’s happening watching the George Floyd trial. Because I’m optimistic that this is a piece of justice for the death of my son.” “We might not be here. They’re going to get him. They’re going to get him.” “Was a crime committed? The answer to that question is no. And as a result, we will not charge these officers with any criminal liability related to the shooting death or the use of force of Stephon Clark.” “April 14, 1991: King fights emotional and physical scars. So this is basically a photo album book of my dad’s newspaper articles since he’s been in the news. Years and years and years. You throw someone to the wolves and you expect them to be normal. You know, there’s no such thing as normal after that. And then, can you imagine how many Rodney Kings there is that never got videotaped? There’s plenty of them.” “I would have prayed and hoped that Oscar’s trial would have been televised because America has to really look in the mirror and say, ‘Are all people being treated equally?’” “There was excessive use of force against George Floyd —” “We’re not focused on the videotape, his toxicology, his heart condition. We’re focused on the fact that several people witnessed this man get murdered.” “You can see it with our own eyes. It’s crazy.” “People don’t realize what it does to your family. It’s bigger than just a trial and this officer. We never get to see them again. We never get to smell them again and kiss them again. Our lives are completely affected forever.”

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The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing. But cycles of protests over systemic racism and policing are not new. We watched the trial with the families of Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Stephon Clark to see this moment in history through their eyes.

“They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquillity, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict.”

The evidence “is overwhelming in my view,” Mr. Biden said, adding that most of the conversation focused on “personal things.”

The president quickly defended his decision to weigh in on an unresolved trial, saying he thought it was appropriate to do so because all the evidence had been presented and the jury would not hear his remarks.

“I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now,” he added, following a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Later, Mr. Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, brushed aside suggestions that the president’s comments undermined an independent judiciary, but she did not clarify what he meant by calling for “the right” verdict.

“I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,” she told reporters during her daily briefing. “He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family.”

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden, who flew to Houston to console Mr. Floyd’s family before his funeral last June, had been speaking from his “heart” and would have further comment on the trial once the verdict had been rendered.

Mr. Floyd’s family discussed the president’s call during a television appearance earlier in the day.

“He was just calling,” Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s brother, told NBC’s “Today” show early Tuesday, a day after the Chauvin jury had retired to consider the verdict.

“He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through,” he continued. “So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”

Shortly after video circulated last May showing Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, Mr. Biden expressed sympathy with the family and called Mr. Floyd’s death an example of an “ingrained systemic cycle of injustice” that plagued the country.

“George Floyd’s life matters,” Mr. Biden said during a livestream with supporters at the time. “It mattered as much as mine. It matters as much as anyone’s in this country. At least it should have.”

April 20, 2021, 12:32 p.m. ET

The defense lawyer Eric J. Nelson and his client, the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, during closing arguments at the Hennepin County Courthouse on Monday.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

The jury has begun deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who has been charged in connection with the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died on May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of Mr. Chauvin, who is white, for more than nine minutes.

Throughout the trial, which began on March 29, the jury heard from 45 witnesses, including bystanders and experts, viewed hours of video of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, and heard arguments from the prosecution and the defense, each presenting a different narrative of what caused Mr. Floyd’s death. Here are some of the key people in the trial.

  • Derek Chauvin, 45, had been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for more than 19 years before George Floyd’s death. During that time, he was the subject of at least 22 complaints and internal investigations.

  • Mr. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Mr. Floyd.

  • Judge Peter A. Cahill is a 14-year veteran of the bench in Hennepin County. He has previously worked as a public defender, private defense lawyer and prosecutor, rising to become chief deputy under Amy Klobuchar, now a U.S. senator, when she served as the county attorney.

  • The jury — made up of 12 jurors and two alternates — was chosen from a pool of more than 300 people from across Hennepin County. Throughout the trial, they have remained anonymous; their faces were not shown on camera.

  • The jurors’ identities are secret, but the court has released some demographic information: There are three Black men, one Black woman, two women who identified as multiracial, two white men and four white women. They are from urban and suburban areas, ranging in age from 20s to 60s.

  • Jerry W. Blackwell, a corporate attorney, was the first lawyer to speak when the trial opened. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general, brought Mr. Blackwell in only for this case, and Mr. Blackwell is working for free.

  • Steve Schleicher, an experienced trial and appellate lawyer and former federal prosecutor, spent 13 years in the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, as the deputy criminal chief of the special prosecution section and the St. Paul branch chief, according to a biography on his firm’s website. He gave the prosecution’s closing argument, while Mr. Blackwell handled its rebuttal.

  • Erin Eldridge, an assistant attorney general, works in the office’s criminal division. Among the witnesses she questioned was Charles McMillian, who broke down on the stand while he recounted watching Mr. Chauvin pin Mr. Floyd to the ground.

  • Matthew Frank, an assistant attorney general for Minnesota, took the lead in questioning many of the witnesses, including several who shared emotional and detailed accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest on May 25.

  • Other lawyers on the prosecution team who have not appeared in court include Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general; Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general during the Obama administration who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court; and Sundeep Iyer and Harrison Gray Kilgore, lawyers with Hogan Lovells who joined the prosecution pro hac vice, meaning the judge has allowed them to work on the case despite not being licensed by the bar in Minnesota.

  • Mr. Chauvin is represented by Eric J. Nelson, a defense lawyer who rotates as counsel for the legal defense fund of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer’s Association. Mr. Nelson took on Mr. Chauvin’s defense over the summer, after his first lawyer retired. Amy Voss, another lawyer, whom Mr. Nelson identified as his assistant, appeared in court throughout the trial but did not speak.

April 20, 2021, 11:06 a.m. ET

Demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis on Monday as jury deliberations started in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Damik Wright, the brother of Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by a police officer on April 11, at a protest outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Roosevelt High School students participated in a statewide walkout to protest racial injustice. A couple visited “Say Their Names Cemetery,” a memorial to victims of police violence.

April 20, 2021, 10:21 a.m. ET

Security at the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday, the first day of jury deliberations.
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Twelve jurors resumed their deliberations on Tuesday morning in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, marking their second day of discussions over evidence in the closely watched case.

The jurors reconvened at 8 a.m., according to court officials, after meeting for four hours on Monday night after prosecutors and Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer made their closing arguments.

The jurors are being sequestered in a hotel each night until they reach a verdict or determine that it is impossible for them all to agree. They must be unanimous in order to convict or acquit Mr. Chauvin of any of the three charges he is facing: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The jurors’ identities are secret, but the court has released some demographic information: The jurors include four white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman, and two multiracial women. They range in age from their 20s to their 60s.

April 20, 2021, 8:23 a.m. ET

Judge Peter A. Cahill said the length of deliberations is in the hands of the jurors, who must come to unanimous decisions.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Before Judge Peter A. Cahill sent jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial home last week, he gave them short and vague instructions on what they might need to pack for deliberations.

“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” he said. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”

So far, the 12 jurors — six white, four Black and two who identify as multiracial — have deliberated for four hours. A verdict could come as soon as Tuesday or stretch into next week or beyond.

On Monday, jurors began discussing the evidence surrounding the death of George Floyd after listening to closing arguments. Prosecutors told them to trust what they saw in a bystander video of Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, pinning a handcuffed Mr. Floyd to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The lawyer for Mr. Chauvin emphasized Mr. Floyd’s use of drugs and said the officer had followed department policies.

During deliberations, the jury will have access to the evidence and exhibits presented in court. The jurors will remain sequestered in a hotel, ideally secluded from outside influences, until reaching a unanimous verdict. If the jury is hung, or cannot reach a decision on one or more charges, the judge may declare a mistrial.

Eric Anderson, senior trial counsel at Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae in California and a former prosecutor, said that jury deliberation lengths vary widely.

“There’s no way of telling how long this will take, particularly when I think that the jurors will try to do the right thing, whatever they think that is,” he said. “And to get to the right thing, they’re going to want to look very closely at the evidence. They’re going to want to look closely at every possible angle.”

It took a jury in Chicago less than eight hours in 2018 to convict Jason Van Dyke, a former Chicago police officer, of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was carrying a knife but heading away from the police.

In the case of Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk in 2017, jurors took 11 hours to reach a verdict, MPR News reported. They found him guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but not second-degree murder.

April 19, 2021, 5:39 p.m. ET

Members of George Floyd’s family gathered outside the courthouse on Monday with the Rev. Al Sharpton, the family of Daunte Wright, the lawyer Ben Crump, government officials and activists before closing arguments.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

After three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, the lawyers gave their concluding arguments on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd.

Judge Peter A. Cahill started the day with instructions for the jury, whose task it is to determine whether Mr. Chauvin is guilty of the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. For second-degree murder, the most serious charge, the state has to prove that Mr. Chauvin assaulted Mr. Floyd and that the assault was a substantial factor in his death.

Prosecutors do not have to prove that he intended to kill Mr. Floyd.

Arguments began with a commanding rebuke of the defense’s case from one of the prosecutors, Steve Schleicher. He called several of the defense’s points “nonsense” and said that Mr. Chauvin betrayed his oath as a police officer.

For his part, Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, asked jurors to take in the totality of the evidence, and criticized the state for dismissing other possible contributing factors in Mr. Floyd’s death, including heart problems and drug use.

Here are some key takeaways.

  • Mr. Schleicher began with a chilling description of the arrest, setting the tone for his primary argument: That jurors should “believe their eyes” when they watch the videos of Mr. Floyd being pinned to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Mr. Schleicher talked about the “unyielding pavement,” and what he believed to be Mr. Floyd’s desperate struggle to lift his chest and fill his lungs with air. He reminded jurors of Mr. Floyd’s last words, “Please, I can’t breathe.”

  • He reinforced what Mr. Floyd’s brother and former girlfriend told the jury: That Mr. Floyd was loved by many people who knew him, that he loved his mother, that he was more than the symbol he became in death. He died “surrounded by strangers,” Mr. Schleicher said — pinned between the pavement and the knee of Mr. Chauvin. “Not a familiar face to say his final words,” Mr. Schleicher said. “But he did say them to someone — he said them to someone who he did not know by name, but he knew him from the uniform he wore and the badge he wore, and he called him ‘Mr. Officer.’”

  • A primary focus of the prosecution was dismissing some of the arguments of the defense. “You’re not required to accept nonsense,” Mr. Schleicher told jurors, pointing to the opinion offered by a defense witness that Mr. Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd did not constitute use of force, and that the exhaust from the tailpipe of a police cruiser might have contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. “Use your common sense,” Mr. Schleicher said. “Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw.”

  • Mr. Nelson focused largely on whether Mr. Chauvin acted the way a reasonable police officer would. He reinforced ideas that he had proposed during the three weeks of witness testimony, including that suspects who do not appear to be dangerous can quickly become so. “A reasonable police officer understands the intensity of the struggle,” he said, pointing out how difficult it was for Mr. Chauvin and other officers to put Mr. Floyd into the back of a police cruiser.

  • He also highlighted the moment that Mr. Floyd took his last breath, showing those few seconds from the vantage point of a security camera. At that moment, Mr. Nelson said, a crowd of angry bystanders, who could also pose a threat to officers, was becoming louder and louder, and that Mr. Chauvin pulled a can of mace from his belt — a sign that he felt he was in danger. “All of the evidence shows that Mr. Chauvin thought he was following his training,” he said.

  • Mr. Nelson hit on the issue of “intent,” asking jurors to consider whether Mr. Chauvin would have purposefully caused unlawful harm to Mr. Floyd. Noting that several body-worn cameras were recording the incident, along with the cellphones of bystanders, Mr. Nelson asked jurors why a person would purposefully break the rules when they knew they were being filmed and that their actions would be reviewed by their supervisors.

  • On Mr. Floyd’s cause of death, Mr. Nelson said it was “preposterous” for the state and several of its witnesses to have asked jurors to ignore a host of possible contributing factors, including Mr. Floyd’s pre-existing heart problems and drug use. He insisted that the defense’s focus on Mr. Floyd’s drug use was not an attack on his character, but was prompted by the issue’s medical significance.

  • Jerry Blackwell, another prosecutor, responded to the defense by continuing to urge jurors to follow “common sense,” saying that even a 9-year-old girl who testified earlier in the trial could see that Mr. Chauvin was hurting Mr. Floyd.

  • Using a chart that showed a dot for every day that Mr. Floyd was alive, Mr. Blackwell spoke of how unlikely it would be that Mr. Floyd would happen to die on May 25, if not for Mr. Chauvin’s use of force. Jurors must decide whether Mr. Chauvin’s restraint was a “substantial factor” in Mr. Floyd’s death, not whether it was the sole factor.

  • Mr. Blackwell ended his rebuttal by reminding jurors that some witnesses had said Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. “Now, having seen all the evidence, having heard all the evidence, you know the truth,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.

April 19, 2021, 11:16 a.m. ET

A group of student activists from South High School in Minneapolis hung a banner in support of George Floyd from the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge.
Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Minneapolis Public Schools will shift to remote learning later this week in anticipation of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, Ed Graff, the district superintendent, said in a notice sent to the school community last week.

The schools will shift to remote learning from Wednesday through Friday, but if the trial schedule changes, the district will “re-evaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible,” the letter said.

Monday marked the first return to the classroom for sixth-grade students in Minneapolis Public Schools since the start of the pandemic. Seventh and eighth graders will return on Tuesday at most schools, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis Public Schools said. Most high schools returned last week, and elementary schools in February. All grades will shift to remote learning for the trial verdict.

School buildings will remain open, but athletic events and child care will not take place, the letter said. The shift to remote learning does not interrupt boxed meals that are available for students.

The notice also said that age-appropriate resources had been provided to teachers to aid in classroom discussion about the “racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents.”

“As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis,” the letter said.

The Minneapolis Public School district serves more than 35,000 students in the Minneapolis area.

April 19, 2021, 10:28 a.m. ET

Derek Chauvin’s booking photos from June 2020.
Credit…Agence France-Presse, via Hennepin County Jail – Getty Images

The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, faces three charges in the death of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

  • Second-degree murder, also called unintentional murder or felony murder, is killing someone in the course of committing another felony — in this case, the prosecutors will argue that Mr. Chauvin was assaulting Mr. Floyd. This charge does not require the prosecution to prove that Mr. Chauvin had any intent to kill. It carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, but Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence of 12.5 years for someone who, like Mr. Chauvin, has no prior convictions.

  • Third-degree murder is a death that occurs when someone is acting extremely dangerously, without regard to human life and “evincing a depraved mind.” Prosecutors will argue that Mr. Chauvin knew that the restraint he used on Mr. Floyd was potentially lethal and a violation of police procedure and training. Third-degree murder carries a sentence of up to 25 years. The guideline recommendation is 10.5 years.

  • Second-degree manslaughter is death by “culpable negligence,” in which the perpetrator knowingly risks causing death or serious harm. It’s punishable by up to 10 years, but under the state guidelines a likely sentence would be four years.

Tim Arango

This article originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News