Derek Chauvin, the white officer filmed kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed and unarmed George Floyd was charged for murder.
Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted Tuesday of murdering George Floyd, had a record of using excessive force before the unarmed Black man died under his knee in a crime prosecutors branded a “shocking abuse of authority.”
Chauvin, described by colleagues as rigid and silent, knelt on the 46-year-old Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on a Minneapolis street on May 25 last year, despite the dying man’s pleas and those of shocked passers-by who filmed the tragedy.
The killing sent reverberations throughout the United States and the world, and launched a reckoning on racial injustice in America.
The guilty verdict amounts to one of the most high-profile, high-stakes US court results in decades.
Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson has said his client “exuded a calm and professional demeanor” in his interactions with Floyd, and sought to convince the jury that the white ex-cop only applied a hold that was authorized and consistent with his training.
But the prosecution argued, successfully, that Chauvin had used excessive force — not only with Floyd, but with others he arrested during his 19-year career on the force.
During closing arguments Monday, prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher described Chauvin’s actions as a “shocking abuse of authority” against Floyd.
This wasn’t policing, this was murder,” Schleicher said.
Prosecutors called several police officers to testify to Chauvin’s excessive use of force against Floyd.
They included the Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo, who said Chauvin’s actions violated the department’s training policies and its “values.”
Chauvin, 44, had the opportunity to testify in his own defense, but he declined, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
He did attend every day of the trial, however, dressed in a suit and often taking notes on a yellow legal pad.
Barry Brodd, a retired police officer who is a use-of-force expert, was among those who testified for the defense.
“I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr Floyd,” Brodd said.
The jury clearly disagreed.
After he was found guilty on all three charges — second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter — Chauvin was placed in handcuffs and led out of the courtroom. He now awaits sentencing.
– 22 complaints –
People who have interacted with Chauvin over the years have said he used more force than necessary in applying restraining holds.
SOURCE: PUNCH NIGERIA