Derek Chauvin Found Guilty for the Murder of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin Found Guilty for the Murder of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin Found Guilty for the Murder of George Floyd

On April 19, 2021, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of manslaughter, second degree, and third degree murder for the death of George Floyd. 

During May of last year, a viral video of Floyd being unlawfully restrained by Chauvin swept the internet and caused public outcry. The video displayed an abuse of power by a member of law enforcement, bringing a spotlight to the issue of police brutality. 

The public’s reaction to the incident incited mass protests across the country, calling for justice and accountability of officers who have abused their power to control minority groups. People have long awaited for the results of the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill oversaw the trial, and  Prosecutor Steve Schleicher as well as Defense Attorney Eric J. Nelson gave their closing arguments. In his speech, Schleicher negated any prior notion that Floyd’s death was a result of other underlying conditions that were presented by the defense, such as being under the influence of drugs. It was proven that even though there was a presence of drugs in Floyd’s system, it was not evident enough to cause severe damage to his body.

The prosecution were able to make a strong case to prove that George Floyd would still be alive had it not been for the way he was restrained. Nelson emphasized the factors that led to Chauvin’s decision making process in a high-stress situation, most of which he explained could not be seen on video. Defense then argued that there are forms of neck restraint that are legal to practice, however the type of restraint that was used on Floyd was deemed to have no legal justification.

Before the jury deliberated, Judge Cahill gave thorough instructions about the charges Chauvin is facing in the trial. He explained the following:

“Second degree murder is unintentional. It is defined as causing death without intent to do so, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense. Chauvin’s alleged felony is assault in the third degree. Cahill said it is not necessary for the state to prove that Chauvin intended to inflict substantial bodily harm on Floyd “or knew that his actions would.” The prosecution must prove only that Chauvin “intended to commit the assault and that George Floyd sustained substantial bodily harm as a result.” The charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.”  (

“Third-degree murder is defined as causing death to an individual by “perpetrating an act imminently dangerous to others and evidencing a depraved mind without regard for human life” but without the intent to cause death, the judge said. To be found guilty, the jury must find that the defendant acted with “reckless disregard” for human life, he said. The maximum sentence for this charge is 25 years.” (

“Second-degree manslaughter is causing the death of another by “culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk” in which the defendant “consciously takes the risk of causing death or great bodily harm to another individual.” Cahill said that an unreasonable risk would be understood to be so by an “ordinary and reasonably prudent” individual. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.” (

The jury let out after nearly ten hours of deliberation, and found beyond any reasonable doubt that Derek Chauvin is guilty of manslaughter, second-degree murder, and third degree murder. He now faces up to 40 years in prison and is awaiting sentencing. 

Because of the publicity of this case, Chauvin’s attorney is requesting a retrial, as he believes this makes it impossible for the defendant to have a fair jury. The court has already rejected many of Nelson’s allegations, but his motion still stands and is currently awaiting judgement.