MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, the explosive case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
The jury reached its verdict Tuesday after deliberating about 10 hours over two days in a city on edge against another outbreak of unrest.
Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.
The courthouse was ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire, and thousands of National Guardsmen and other law enforcement officers were brought in ahead of the verdict.
The jury, made up of six white people and six Black or multiracial people, weighed charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, President Joe Biden weighed in by saying he believes the case is “overwhelming.” Other politicians and ordinary citizens also offered their opinion.
“It shouldn’t be really even questioned whether there will be an acquittal or a verdict that doesn’t meet the scale of the crime that was committed,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, said in Brooklyn Center, a suburb just outside Minneapolis. The congresswoman said the Chauvin case looks open-and-shut.
Guilty verdicts could mark a turning point in the fight for racial equality, she said.
“We are holding on to one another for support. Hopefully this verdict will come soon and the community will start the process of healing,” Omar said.
In Washington, the president said that he had spoken to Floyd’s family on Monday and “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” Biden said. “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
The president has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s death but previously stopped short of commenting on the trial itself.
Ahead of a verdict, some stores were boarded up in Minneapolis, the courthouse was ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire, and National Guard troops were on patrol. Last spring, Floyd’s death set off protests along with vandalism and arson in Minneapolis.
The city has also been on edge in recent days over the deadly police shooting of a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center on April 11.
Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press video journalist Angie Wang in Atlanta and Associated Press writers Doug Glass, in Minneapolis, Mohamed Ibrahim in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed.