Justice is served: Derek Chauvin trial wrapped up

Bella Dombrowski, Staff Writer

One of the most Internet-breaking verdicts has been reached: the results of the Derek Chauvin trial. Justice has been served.

Chuavin’s guilty verdict has been plastered on his face in this infographic. (Credit: “soyouwanttotalkabout” on Instagram)

Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, was seen kneeling on George Floyd’s neck during an attempted arrest. The kneel ended up being fatal, stopping Floyd from breathing. The deliberations lasted about 10 hours and a guilty verdict was reached. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter and found guilty on all three counts. The main points brought up by the defense were the possible causes of death being from heart issues, drug use, that Chauvin was not able to think clearly during the situation, and that his actions were justified.

Chauvin’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, argued that kneeling on Floyd’s neck was justified and that if any other officer was in the same situation the force used would be reasonable. The New York Times said Nelson argued the justification of the kneel was because “he resisted” and that he was when Floyd said he was claustrophobic. Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell’s rebuttal was “putting a knee on Mr. Floyd’s back for nine minutes and 29 seconds was inherently dangerous” and also said that Chauvin “betrayed the badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force.” Prosecutor Steve Schleicher delivered his thoughts saying that Chauvin did not use his training correctly during the situation and should’ve known the proper way to handle it.

The lawyer also argued that the cause of death could have been from drug use or heart conditions Floyd may have had prior, saying, “evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died from cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, ingestion of methamphetamines, and fentanyl and the adrenaline flowing through his body.” Blackwell countered this, saying that the supposed cause of death being a heart and drug problem was “the largest departure from the truth” and also said that “there was no sign of a heart condition” according to NBC News.

Chauvin apparently reacted in that manner because it was a high stress situation. Nelson said that “there’s more to the scene than just what the officers see in front of them.” There were people shouting and this caused Chauvin’s decision-making to not be as concise. NPR says Blackwell responded saying, “At all relevant times here, there were five grown men police officers at the scene. Each had a radio to call for additional assistance.” Chauvin’s poor decision making could have easily been avoided by the surrounding officers. 

The prosecution and many witnesses also played an important role. The prosecution argued that cause of death was Chauvin’s knee, which caused “low oxygen levels that caused a brain injury and arrhythmia, causing his heart to stop” according to NPR. The trial also had 45 witnesses testify, some including Darnella, who recorded the tragic death, bystander Charles McMillian, Dr. Andrew Baker, and Chief Medaria Arradondo from the Minneapolis Police Department. Arradondo argued that what Chauvin did was wrong and did not follow the MPD policy. 

The jury discussed the case for 10 hours and found that Chauvin was guilty on all counts. Prosecutors are seeking up to 40 years in prison, but sentencing won’t be for a few weeks. Justice has been brought to George Floyd, his family members, and everyone fighting for him.