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INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Ex-cop guilty of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd case

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George Floyd (Christopher Harris via AP File)

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In this image from video, defendant, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, listens to verdicts at his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

By AMY FORLITI, STEPHEN GROVES and TAMMY WEBBER Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man's neck in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades.

The jury of six white people and six Black or multiracial ones came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

His face was obscured by a COVID-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom.

His bail was immediately revoked and he was led away with his hands cuffed behind his back.

The verdict was read in a courthouse ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire and patrolled by National Guard troops, in a city on edge against another round of unrest — not just because of the Chauvin case but because of the deadly police shooting of a young Black man, Daunte Wright, in a Minneapolis suburb April 11.

The jurors identities were kept secret and will not be released until the judge decides it is safe to do so.

Three other former Minneapolis officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd's death will stand trial in August.

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a corner market. He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic and struggled with police when they tried to put him in a squad car. They put him on the ground instead.

The centrepiece of the case was the excruciating bystander video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, "I can't breathe" and onlookers yelling at Chauvin to stop as the officer pressed his knee on or close to Floyd's neck for what authorities say was 9 1/2 minutes. Floyd slowly went silent and limp.

Prosecutors played the footage at the earliest opportunity, during opening statements, with Jerry Blackwell telling the jury: "Believe your eyes." And it was shown over and over, analysed one frame at a time by witnesses on both sides.

In the wake of Floyd's death, demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis, around the country and beyond. The furor also led to the removal of Confederate statues and other offensive symbols such as Aunt Jemima.

In the months that followed, numerous states and cities restricted the use of force by police, revamped disciplinary systems or subjected police departments to closer oversight.

The "Blue Wall of Silence" that often protects police accused of wrongdoing crumbled after Floyd's death: The Minneapolis police chief quickly called it "murder" and fired all four officers, and the city reached a staggering $27 million settlement with Floyd's family as jury selection was underway.

Police-procedure experts and law enforcement veterans inside and outside the Minneapolis department, including the chief, testified for the prosecution that Chauvin used excessive force and went against his training.

Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, a knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.

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People listen on a phone on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Washington, before the verdict is read in Minneapolis, in the murder trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson called a police use-of-force expert and a forensic pathologist to help make the case that Chauvin acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of an underlying heart condition and his illegal drug use.

Floyd had high blood pressure, an enlarged heart and narrowed arteries, and fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system.

Under the law, police have certain leeway to use force and are judged according to whether their actions were "reasonable" under the circumstances.

The defence also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.

Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. Chauvin told a bystander: "We gotta control this guy 'cause he's a sizable guy ... and it looks like he's probably on something."

The prosecution's case also included tearful testimony from onlookers who said the police kept them back when they protested what was happening. Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier, who shot the crucial video, said Chauvin just gave the bystanders a "cold" and "heartless" stare.

She and others said they felt a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt from witnessing Floyd's slow-motion death.

"It's been nights I stayed up, apologising and apologising to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life," Frazier testified, while the 19-year-old cashier at the neighbourhood market, Christopher Martin, lamented that "this could have been avoided" if only he had rejected the suspect $20 bill.

To make Floyd more than a crime statistic in the eyes of the jury, the prosecution called to the stand his girlfriend, who told the story of how they met and how they struggled with addiction to opioids, and his younger brother Philonise. He recalled how Floyd helped teach him to catch a football and made "the best banana mayonnaise sandwiches."

Comments

proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

Very good. No doubt whatsoever he murdered that young man and deserves to spend the rest of his days in jail. Justice was most definitely served...

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, but justice is not served when the jury is pressured into giving a guilty verdict. Even the judge admitted that when he said to the defense attorney : "Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned."

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

9 minutes.

Justice was definitely served...

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

Only street justice, which is the only thing you know apparently

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

9 minutes = murder. End of discussion...

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

Repeating a falsehood does not make it true.

Here is another quote from Judge Cahill, who declared in open court that “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function. If they want to give their opinions, they should do so … in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution.”

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

The murderer kneeled on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes, ignoring Floyd say he couldn't breathe, ignoring people in the crowd saying the man can't breathe. These are established facts, not falsehoods. The cop is a murderer. Period. Waters statement was stupid but doubtful it'll result in overturning a perfectly legitimate verdict. Stop watching fox.

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GodSpeed 2 years, 10 months ago

If the cop was black nobody would care, if Floyd was white nobody would care. Nobody cares about the thousands of black Americans that murder each other in Detroit, Baltimore and Chicago every year, there are no protests and riots about it. BLM doesn't care, the fake news media doesn't care. It's all a big joke.

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SP 2 years, 10 months ago

This is exactly what Officer Derek Chauvin thought up until couple hours ago.

Now HE cares!!

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tribanon 2 years, 10 months ago

You unfortunately missed altogether @GodSpeed's very important point. Many more black americans are being murdered each and everday day by black american criminals in numerous crime-ridden cities and districts of the US. All of the politically motivated and carefully guided US media attention on Chauvin's killing of Floyd is fully intended to distract the weak minded among us from that most important fact.

Clever US politicians on both sides of the aisle in congress, including the congressional black caucus, are all using one man's death for their own political purposes and self-gain. Meanwhile they continue to get away with ignoring and doing absolutely nothing about the much larger problem of ever increasing widespread black-on-black violent crimes in which thousands of black americans are senselessly killed each and every year.

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

You missed the point. This is about police murdering people. Police. You know, people sworn to protect.

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ScubaSteve 2 years, 10 months ago

It's called RACISM. White cop abusing his power and position over a black man. This cop had a long, long history of abusing his power -- over black citizens. And yes, you are correct about black killing black or white killing white. But that isn't RACISM related. 400 years of racism by white over black. That is the freakin point. How hard is it to understand?

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SP 2 years, 10 months ago

It's hard for someone to understand a problem when THEY are a part of the problem! Racism is normal to them so the "problem" doesn't exist to them.

Yesterday's verdict is not a solution in itself, but one small step in the right direction of solving a 400 year old problem that will take decades to correct the systemic racism in America. Other countries will follow suit as well, however, America is keeper of racism.

The initial police report was totally scrubbed of any wrongdoing by the cop. Had no one videotaped and witnessed Floyd's murder, it would gone as just another black man murdered by the "system". We the people caused yesterday's verdict, and we the people must continue pushing the anti racism narrative!

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tribanon 2 years, 10 months ago

I gather you think the many indiscriminate (non-racial) killings in the US are okay as long as they are mischievously masked by all of the politically charged media hype surrounding the relatively few killings of black americans by white police officers.

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

Irrelevant, this is about police brutality. Period.

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tribanon 2 years, 10 months ago

That's your myopic view and you're certainly entitled to it. But many of us prefer seeing the bigger picture to avoid getting lost in the weeds and never seeing the trees.

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ScubaSteve 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, black people killing black people is horrible. Yes, white people killing white people is also bad. But none of those murders have anything to do with RACISM. Those murders are part of an entirely different problem and will require an entirely different solution. What we are referring to today and with yesterday's verdict dealt 110% with RACISM. Again, how hard is it not to recognize that some white cops are 110% RACIST to the core. We simply want cops to be non-biased and do their jobs with respect and equality towards all colors. Period.

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tribanon 2 years, 10 months ago

With age I've grown wary of all those inclined to use racism labelling in a highly charged way to achieve their own mischievous political goals. Pindling did it to keep the reins of political power in his hands for 25 years, and just look at the course he charted for our country and its people.

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John 2 years, 10 months ago

Too bad there were six men murdered in this country recently and dozens of others. But their families and loved ones may never get closure. When it is a police involved killing, there is no full investigation and when it is a ‘criminal murder’ the suspects don’t always make it to trial. There are several more police officers in the US, including at least one female officer, that will be brought up on charges of killing young, black male suspects. One such ‘suspect’ was only 13 years old when he was chased by police and shot in the back. Police later claimed he had a semi-automatic weapon. Then there was the 20 year old young male who was stopped for driving with expired license tags. He tried to escape and was shot in the midsection by a female police officer who claims she thought she was using her taser and not her service weapon. And the US army sergeant, also Black, who was pepper sprayed and dragged from his vehicle and pinned to the ground, despite being in full uniform. He was abused with racist slurs and threatened by the officers. He has since filed a million-dollar lawsuit.

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

All these deaths could have been avoided if :

These persons had not been involved in crime.

These persons had complied with Police instructions.

As for the US army sergeant, I don't know the case, but I would love to be in his place to collect the $ millions.

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

My dear friend proudloud, we can always count on you to be on the criminals' side;)

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

Not true. I fully agree with the verdict... Justice was in fact served.

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tribanon 2 years, 10 months ago

Are you talking about the 6 that were executed locally?

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

Floyd was a violent criminal, high on drugs who resisted arrest. I won’t make him a role model like you. There are much more deserving people out there like David Dorn, a black retired St Louis police captain who was shot and killed last year, while attempting to protect his neighborhood from BLM looters. Now that man is a hero and role model, but since he was no criminal, people like you don't care about his death or justice being served.

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tetelestai 2 years, 10 months ago

He was not high on drugs at the time, that was debunked by two witnesses for the state - both of whom are doctors.

And, by your specious logic, because he had drugs in his system (read: NOT HIGH ON DRUGS) then that was a decent enough excuse to murder him. That is galactically stupid - like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods level of specious baloney.

I have no issues with your POV, but please don't spread untruths about Mr. Floyd's condition at the time.

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Proguing 2 years, 10 months ago

"George Floyd had "fatal level" of fentanyl in his system

New documents filed in the George Floyd case give new information about the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's findings in Floyd's autopsy.

"If he were found dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD. Deaths have been certified with levels of 3," Baker told investigators.

In another new document, Baker said, "That is a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/new...">https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/new...

And speaking of untruth, at no point did I write that he deserved to die

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tetelestai 2 years, 10 months ago

Your "sources", meager and inaccurate as they are, are refuted by direct testimony from two doctors on the witness stand, under penalty of perjury, who testified that Mr. Floyd did not have fatal levels of any drug - including fentanyl - in his system.

Seeing that you like to "google", go and look up their testimony - which is publicly available, btw - and read for yourself. Somehow, you won't do that though, I suspect.

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bahamianson 2 years, 10 months ago

do we need to defund the police in the Bahamas? are the police racist against their own black men? Black security guards stop black kids over in Atlantis to make sure they are guests. Why stop a black kid in Atlantis ? Are tourist only white? Should bahamas air stewardess' give you the forms coming into the country only because of the colour of your skin? If you have black skin, you do not get a form, if you have light skin, you get a form regardless of your Bahamian citizenship. We have systemic racism in the Bahamas. A young light skinned girl with an almost 4.0 point GPA was denied a merit scholarship because , her parents can afford it because she is white. What an assumption. My light skinned aunt had to endure whispers at PMH when getting medications because the people sitting in the waiting area thought she could afford the meds because she is light skinned. last year while at the Blue Hill Super Value during our lockdowns I had to endure whispers about why am I in blue hill road. The people on the line could not understand why my light skinned self could not stay in the west. Systemic racism is prevalent and must be stamped out.

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FreeUs242 2 years, 10 months ago

Finally his soul can move on in peace knowing that justice has been served.

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Sickened 2 years, 10 months ago

He's a crack addicted petty thieving thug. His soul will never rest in peace.

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