© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cleveland Experts, Leaders Discuss Impact Of Derek Chauvin Conviction In Murder Of George Floyd

Demonstrators gather in Washington, DC in memory of George Floyd in June 2020. [bgrocker/Shutterstock]
Demonstrators gather in Washington, DC in memory of George Floyd in June 2020. [bgrocker/Shutterstock]

Guilty on all charges.

A quick and unequivocal ending to the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After less than 11 total hours of deliberations, a jury yesterday convicted the former Minneapolis police officer in the murder of George Floyd.

The jury found Chauvin guilty of one charge each of unintentional Second Degree Murder; Third Degree Murder and Second-Degree Manslaughter.  Chauvin offered little in the way of reaction as the judge read the verdicts and polled the jury.

But outside the courtroom a much different result. 

Crowds erupted in cheers, tears and reactions that included "We matter"  and “They see us” from people gathered outside the  Hennepin County Courthouse.  Crowds also cheered the jury's verdict at the site where Floyd died May 25, 2020 outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis.     

A worker in the store called police on George Floyds last year for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 dollar bill.

Floyd's agonizing death captured on bystander video as Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly 9-and-a-half minutes galvanized a racial justice movement led by Black Lives Matter last summer and led to protests nationwide, including in Cleveland.

Floyd's death started a national conversation about policing that continues to this day.

The trial lasted for three weeks and includes dozens of witnesses as well as emotional testimony and videos of Floyd’s death.  A number of police officers took the stand against Chauvin to dispute the neck restraint used on Floyd.

Chauvin faces potentially decades in prison when a judge sentences him in about 8-weeks—unless there are delays. Judge Peter Cahill set the timeframe and then revoked Chauvin's bail and remanded him to custody.  Three of Chauvin’s fellow police officers who were on-site during Floyd's death but did nothing to stop Chauvin are scheduled for trial in August.

Chauvin is expected to file an appeal of his convictions.

The sequestered jury—and a jury noted for its diverse makeup—began its deliberations in the Chauvin case Monday evening.  They notified the court they had reached their unanimous decision Tuesday afternoon.  The jurors did not ask questions of the judge during their deliberations.

The reading of the verdict came hours later, in order for law enforcement agencies to make preparations in case the jury’s decision led to unrest.

Before the court announced the jury's verdict, President Biden said he hoped the jury reached the right decision.

Any relief from the verdict proved short in Columbus.  Yesterday afternoon, Columbus police shot and killed a 16-year-old black girl outside her home.   Police fired on Ma’Khia Bryant moments after arriving on scene.  Body camera footage shows people fighting and the teen swinging a knife at another girl.

Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Assistant Professor of Law & Director, Social Justice Law Center, Case Western Reserve University  
Charmin Leon, Member, Cleveland Community Police Commission & Implementation Specialist, Center for Policing Equity  
Kareem Henton, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter Cleveland Chapter 
Dan Flannery, Director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Case Western Reserve University 
Terrance Curtain, Assistant Principal, Sunbeam Elementary School, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, & Pastor, The Generation Center in Collinwood