Derek Chauvin murder trial: Jury finds former Minneapolis cop guilty of murdering George Floyd

Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd. 

After deliberating for roughly 10 hours, the 12-panel jury's verdict was delivered by Judge Peter Cahill at about 5:05pm ET (9:05am NZ time).

Chauvin, 45, has been convicted of three offences, the most serious being second-degree unintentional felony murder. He has also been found guilty of third-degree murder, a charge requiring proof he caused Floyd's death through an "eminently dangerous" act "without regard for human life". He has also been convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

The former Minneapolis police officer, who is white, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During the trial, which commenced on March 8, the prosecution argued Chauvin used excessive - and therefore illegal - force resulting in Floyd's death. The defence countered that Chauvin behaved as any "reasonable police officer" would, and suggested heart disease, drug use, or the exhaust fumes from the nearby police car may have played a role in his death.

Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks. His three convictions - second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter - carry maximum sentences of 40 years, 25 years and 10 years behind bars respectively.

The 45-year-old has been remanded, meaning he will not be out on bail while awaiting sentencing. 

'I can't breathe'

On May 25, 2020, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to a report of a man attempting to use a counterfeit US$20 bill to purchase cigarettes at Cup Foods, a local grocery store. At the scene they apprehended Floyd, a 46-year-old father.

During the arrest, Chauvin, then 44, restrained Floyd by pinning the handcuffed man to the pavement. He pressed his knee into the back of Floyd's neck, a position he held for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Floyd begged for his life, repeatedly gasping: "I can't breathe." 

It was footage that would spark an international outcry against systemic racism ingrained in America's law enforcement. With George Floyd's face emblazoned on flags, banners, posters and murals worldwide, the man became a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement, his death inspiring a rallying call for justice as demonstrators - some peaceful, others violent - took to the streets to protest against police brutality in a civil rights uprising.

These live updates have now finished.

3:20pm - These live updates have now finished.

2:30pm - In a Facebook post shortly after the verdict, Darnella Frazier - the young woman who filmed George Floyd's arrest and murder last May - shared her jubilation at Chauvin's conviction.

"I just cried so hard," she wrote. "This last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof.

"George Floyd we did it!! Justice has been served."

Frazier was just 17 when she happened upon Floyd's arrest on May 25, 2020. She testified during Chauvin's trial, telling the court she wished she had been able to do more. 

The footage captured Floyd gasping for air as Chauvin pinned his neck to the pavement for more than nine minutes. 

Frazier has been widely celebrated on social media following the guilty verdict on Tuesday afternoon (local time). Many have praised the teenager for capturing a crucial piece of evidence that played a significant role in Chauvin's conviction.

In a post, Oprah Winfrey said she was "grateful" for Frazier.

"Relieved - and emotional in ways I didn’t expect. I cried tears of joy as each verdict was read. I'm grateful to the witnesses and their testimonies. Grateful to Darnella Frazier," the talk show host and philanthropist said.

1:30pm - Here are some more reactions from Floyd's family following the delivery of the guilty verdict.

"We will have to do this for life," said Philonise Floyd, George's younger brother - and the only relative in the courtroom during the delivery of the verdict. "I am going to put up a fight every day... because I am not just fighting for George any more."

Watching the landmark moment from Floyd's hometown of Houston, Texas, relative LaTonya Floyd told reporters: "I feel like heaven is standing on my shoulders."

"I just miss him so much. I am so hurt right now, but I am so happy,” she said, as reported by The Guardian. "When I watch this man get handcuffed in court behind his back, just like he did my brother, he is not in control any more. He has no power. But my brother do."

12:30pm - The governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, has issued a statement responding to the conviction of Derek Chauvin. In a similar vein to other official comments, Walz praised the jury's decision as an "important step forward", but acknowledged that true justice can only come with systemic change to prevent more acts of police brutality in the future.

12:10pm - Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks following his conviction on Tuesday afternoon (local time). To recap, the former police officer has been found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Black man George Floyd last May.

Although the three charges carry maximum sentences of 40 years, 25 years, and 10 years respectively, the maximum sentence Chauvin might receive cannot be calculated by totalling those figures.

According to local media, Chauvin will be sentenced for the most serious charge - second-degree unintentional murder - as the charges stem from a single act.

Moreover, sentencing guidelines suggest reduced jail terms for first-time offenders. For second-degree murder, an individual with an otherwise clean record prior to their conviction could be sentenced to 12.5 years - instead of the maximum penalty of 40.

12pm - Speaking to reporters earlier, members of George Floyd's family reflected on the impact of today's verdict.

One of Floyd's cousins, Angela, expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of love and support worldwide as the family grappled to come to terms with the tragedy.

"This verdict is well-needed. May 25 was a very dark day - there was a lot of pain and a lot of hatred," she said. "But I got a chance to witness a love that I saw around the world that was poured to the family. I don't know if I'll ever see that again in my lifetime.

"You've touched us. Thank you... We must not let his death be his last word."

Floyd's sister-in-law also took the podium, saying the guilty verdict is "just the beginning".

"We still have a lot of families we need to fight for," she declared.

11:40am - Minneapolis residents are continuing to celebrate the verdict in Derek Chauvin's murder trial, the 12-panel jury finding the former cop guilty of second and third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Hundreds have gathered in George Floyd Square, many holding 'Black Lives Matter' signs.

Crowds have also congregated outside the grocery store Cup Foods, where Floyd was apprehended and later murdered on May 25, 2020. 

The guilty verdict has sparked jubilation in a city rocked by acts of violence, most recently the killing of 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright by a Minneapolis police officer during a traffic stop.

People have flooded the streets to cheer, chant, dance and honk their horns in celebration of Chauvin's conviction.

11:20am - US President Joe Biden has addressed the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of Black man George Floyd last year.

In a statement, the President called the verdict "a step forward" - and a "giant step forward on the march towards justice in America".

"There's meaningful police reform legislation in George Floyd's name, but it shouldn't take a year to get it done," Biden said.

"I assured the Floyd family that we're going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so I can sign it into law right away."

Earlier, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called the Floyd family following the delivery of the verdict. Footage of the family receiving the call captures Biden saying he and wife Jill were "so relieved". 

11:15am - Vice President Kamala Harris has addressed the nation following the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin's murder case.

"Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice," she said. "This verdict brings us a step closer and the fact is, we still have work to do. We still must reform the system.

"We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy, and our job now is to honor it and to honour him.

"A measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all." 

10:50am - George Floyd's family is currently addressing the verdict in a conference with reporters.

Watch the livestream above.

10:30am - Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has responded to the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

"The jury joined in a shared conviction that has animated Minneapolis for the last 11 months. They refused to look away and affirmed he should still be here today," he said in a tweet.

10:15am - Courteney Ross, the girlfriend of George Floyd, has delivered a powerful message outside the courthouse where the guilty verdict was recently announced. 

According to local media, Ross declared: "We needed it. This city needed it."

"His spirit is here with you all," she told the crowds.

"It's a moment to celebrate. Take tonight just to be glad that we have one day of victory. This battle is going to continue.

"Floyd was one man. George Floyd is a movement."

Surrounded by raised phones capturing the historic moment, Ross took a moment to pray.

10:10am - 2016 presidential candidate and former Secretary of State, senator and First Lady, Hillary Clinton, has tweeted a response to the guilty verdict.

"George Floyd's family and community deserved for his killer to be held accountable. Today, they got that accountability. Always and forever, Black lives matter."

10:07am - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also responded, saying he was "appalled" by Floyd's murder.

"I was appalled by the death of George Floyd and welcome this verdict," he said. "My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd's family and friends."

10:02am - According to local media, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has responded to the conviction of Derek Chauvin in a press conference. 

"Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice... Because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous for justice."

10am - Former US President Barack Obama has responded to the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. In a statement issued on his official Twitter account at 9:55am (NZ time), Obama said the jury "did the right thing", but "true justice requires much more".

"Michelle [Obama] and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied," he tweeted.

In his statement, Obama said true justice requires America coming to terms with the fact "Black Americans are treated differently, every day".

"We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system."

9:55am - Footage of George Floyd's family reacting to the verdict is being widely circulated on social media. As Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, the Floyd family was filmed jumping to their feet in elation, screaming "yes!" 

9:50am - According to attorney Ben Crump, President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris have called the Floyd family following the delivery of the guilty verdict.

9:45am - The civil rights attorneys representing George Floyd's family have released statements following the conviction of Derek Chauvin.

Attorney Ben Crump said: "Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd's family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today's verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state."

Attorney Antonio M. Romanucci said: "Today's verdict is so critical in that it not only holds Derek Chauvin accountable for his horrific actions, but it reinforces significant police reforms underway in Minneapolis including use-of-force reporting, a requirement to keep body-worn cameras on, and a policy for officers to de-escalate non-threatening encounters by disengaging or walking away. Now we call on Minnesota state lawmakers to pass."

Attorney L. Chris Stewart said: "Today the world had its hope and faith restored in the American justice system. All that people crave is accountability when an officer kills a Black American. For far too long that had never happened. Now George Floyd's soul can finally rest in peace. Justice has been served."

Lawyer Jeff Storms said: "The impact of George Floyd's death on Minneapolis is impossible to explain, but today's verdict is an important step toward healing. The community here has struggled to create accountability for officers who have used excessive force over many years and too many lives and caused so much pain and suffering. This jury has sent a clear and direct message that this can never happen again."

9:40am - Reports from local media paint a picture of the courtroom at the time the verdict was delivered. 

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, had been sitting with his head bowed and his hands folded in front of his face, perhaps in prayer, according to a pool report. 

The jurors entered the courtroom looking solemn but not emotional. As Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict, Derek Chauvin stared at the empty witness podium. He did not resist when a deputy placed him in handcuffs.

Philonise Floyd hugged prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison, and the other prosecutors, the pool report says.

9:35am - Social media users are also praising Darnella Frazier, the young woman who filmed Floyd's murder outside a Minneapolis grocery story on May 25, 2020. 

"It's hard to imagine we'd have this verdict if not for Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old girl who took out her cellphone and recorder Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd," one person said.

"We got here because of Darnella Frazier... I am forever grateful to her," said another.

9:30am - To recap, US President Joe Biden is yet to respond - but earlier told reporters he was praying for the "right verdict" in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin.

"I've come to know George's family. I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling," he said.

"They're a good family, and they're calling for peace and tranquillity, no matter what that verdict is."

CNN says President Biden will address the verdict "as soon as it is appropriate".

9:24am - Senator Bernie Sanders has responded to the verdict, said although the jury's verdict holds Chauvin to account, it does not provide justice for Floyd and his family. 

"The jury's verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd. Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person," Sanders said in a statement.

"The trauma and tragedy of George Floyd's murder must never leave us. It was a manifestation of a system that callously devalues the lives of Black people.

"Our struggle now is about justice - not justice on paper, but real justice in which all Americans live their lives free of oppression. We must boldly root out the cancer of systemic racism and police violence against people of colour."

9:20am - After hours of deliberation, the 12 jurors found Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges - second-degree unintentional felony murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

To convict Chauvin, prosecutors needed to secure a unanimous jury vote. This is what they needed to prove:

Second-degree murder

The prosecution did not have to prove that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd, but they did need to prove - beyond a reasonable doubt - that Chauvin caused Floyd's death while committing or attempting to commit a felony, in this case assault. 

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines recommend 12.5 years for a first-time offender. 

Third-degree murder

To convict Chauvin of third-degree murder, the prosecution had to prove Chauvin killed Floyd with an act that was clearly dangerous, and proceeded without regard for human life. The "eminently dangerous" act would be Chauvin using his knee to pin Floyd's neck to the ground. 

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines recommend 12.5 years for a first-time offender.

Second-degree manslaughter

The prosecution needed to demonstrate culpable negligence - that Chauvin's actions (using his knee to pin Floyd's next to the ground) created an unreasonable risk and he consciously took a chance of causing death or serious harm.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines recommend four years for a first-time offender.

The jury

The jury comprises four white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women, according to court records. The court has promised to shield their identities until some time after the verdict is revealed. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill presided over the trial.

The 12 sequestered jurors met for a second day of deliberations on Tuesday (local time). They have considered three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses - including bystanders, police officials and medical experts - along with hours of video evidence.

The jury began its deliberations on Monday (local time) after listening to the closing arguments. 

9:19am - The Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Joyce Beatty said while the verdict is just the beginning, "we want to be very clear that this is just the first step".

The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University called the verdict a "powerful signal" that "no one - not even law enforcement - is above the law".

9:18am - The crowds are also chanting the names of other Black people killed by authorities, including 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot on April 11 by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota.

9:15am - Throngs of people gathered outside the courthouse are celebrating the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the crowd erupting into cheers and chanting, "Black lives matter!" and "I am somebody!"

People were seen embracing, crying and laughing as the judge announced Chauvin had been found guilty on all three charges - second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

9:11am - Derek Chauvin has been remanded in the custody of the Hennepin County Sheriff.

Chauvin was directed out of the courtroom in handcuffs moments after the guilty verdict was delivered.

9:08am - Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin murder trial:  Jury finds former Minneapolis cop guilty of murdering George Floyd

9am - On Monday (local time), US President Joe Biden spoke to the Floyd family as the 12-panel jury began its deliberations.

"I can only imagine the pressure and the anxiety they’re feeling," the President said.

"They're a good family and they're calling for peace and tranquility.

"I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think, it's overwhelming in my view."

8:58am - The jury and all other parties in Chauvin's murder trial have arrived in the courtroom, where the verdict will be read soon.

Large crowds gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center are chanting: "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

8:55am - US President Joe Biden will address the nation - and the world - "as soon as it's appropriate", according to CNN's chief national affairs correspondent.

8:52am - Protesters are organising "emergency actions" in New York to mark the verdict in Chauvin's murder trial.

Rallies are expected to take place in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.

8:50am - According to the Associated Press, Derek Chauvin has returned to the courthouse to hear the verdict in his case.

8:45am - Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend, has spoken outside the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis.

During the trial, Ross delivered an emotional testimony, describing Floyd as "a man with a big heart".

"Floyd was a big man, he was too big for this Earth. He is over all of us right now."

Speaking outside the courthouse, Ross called for unity ahead of the verdict.

"This is not a time for separation, no time for us to blame or hurt each other," she said.

"I know the verdict is coming back guilty."

8:40am - The verdict could be announced at any minute. It is expected the verdict will be read between now and 4pm (local time) - between 8:40am and 9am (NZ time).

8:35am - Due to the imminent announcement of the verdict, US President Joe Biden's remarks on the American Jobs Plan have been rescheduled, the White House said.

8:30am - In his closing arguments on Monday (local time), Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor with the Minnesota attorney general's office, urged the jury to "believe your eyes".

"This wasn't policing - this was murder," Schleicher said. "He was trapped with the unyielding pavement beneath him, as unyielding as the men who held him down.

"Believe your eyes: what you saw, you saw. This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It is exactly that."

8:20am - The courthouse is currently surrounded by high barricades and guarded by National Guard troops. Downtown businesses have boarded up their windows in preparation for the possibility of violent clashes, many fearful of a repeat of last year's chaos.

In a now-deleted tweet, a poster circulated on Twitter instructed rioters in Portland, Oregon to "rage" regardless of the verdict.