Minneapolis (CNN)– Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on charges of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
The jury of five men and seven women deliberated for four hours Monday afternoon and resumed deliberating Tuesday morning, according to the court. They were sequestered from the public during deliberations.
Chauvin, 45, had pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The deliberations began after three weeks of testimony in one of the most closely watched cases of the Black Lives Matter era. The prosecution’s case against Chauvin featured 38 witnesses as they sought to show the former Minneapolis Police officer committed murder when he kneeled on the neck and back of Floyd, handcuffed and prone on the street, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds on May 25, 2020.
Prosecutors have repeatedly told jurors to “believe your eyes” and rely on the infamous bystander video of Floyd’s death.
“This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It is exactly that. You can believe your eyes,” prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher said in closing arguments. “This wasn’t policing. This was murder.”
The defense called seven witnesses of its own — but not Chauvin himself, as he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Chauvin’s use of force was unattractive but appropriate and said he was distracted by a crowd of hostile bystanders on the scene. He also argued that Floyd died due to fentanyl and methamphetamine use, his resistance of officers and his underlying heart problems, rather than due to Chauvin’s actions
The second-degree murder charge says Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd’s death. The third-degree murder charge says Chauvin acted with a “depraved mind, without regard for human life.” And the second-degree manslaughter charge says Chauvin’s “culpable negligence” caused Floyd’s death.
The charges are to be considered separate, so Chauvin could be convicted of all, some or none of them. If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The actual sentences would likely be much lower, though, because Chauvin has no prior convictions. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12.5 years in prison for each murder charge and about four years for the manslaughter charge.Six of the jurors are White, four are Black and two are multiracial, according to information released by the court.