Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell questions Dr. David Fowler from deliberations on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Photo courtesy of Court TV

Jury deliberation begins in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial

The case of a white former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd has gone to the jury. The jurors will be sequestered as they consider whether Derek Chauvin caused the death of Floyd, a Black man.

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Lawyers for the prosecution and defense concluded their closing arguments on Monday in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd after nearly three weeks of testimony. Jurors have been sequestered to deliberate on a final verdict in the case.

On April 19, arguments come to a close for both the prosecution and defense in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, after nearly three weeks. Revisit key moments and testimony throughout the trial ahead of the jury’s verdict.

These are the three charges Derek Chauvin is facing in George Floyd’s death, which came as Chauvin kneeled on his neck and back for more than nine minutes.

  1. Second-degree murder
    The hardest charge to prove and the one with the longest potential sentence. The state has to convince the jury that Chauvin killed Floyd while committing a felony. It carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, and sentencing guidelines recommend 12.5 years.
  2. Third-degree murder
    The original charge filed against Chauvin. It requires prosecutors to show that Chauvin killed Floyd while acting in an “eminently dangerous” way that evinces “a depraved mind, without regard for human life.” The maximum prison term is 25 years.
  3. Second-degree manslaughter
    Causing death through negligence. Carries maximum jail time of 10 years and a recommended sentence of four years.

The prosecution described George Floyd’s final moments during closing arguments on Monday. In his closing arguments, defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Chauvin was acting as a “reasonable police officer.”

Floyd, a Black man, died in police custody on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin pinned his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

“That action is not deescalation … that violates our policy,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said. Arradondo also stated Derek Chauvin did not follow police department policy during George Floyd’s arrest.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Derek Chauvin was acting as a “reasonable police officer” when he used force against George Floyd based on what he knew at the time. The reasonable officer standard is key to Chauvin’s defense.

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