In a much-watched and politically sensitive criminal trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, on two counts of murder and one of manslaughter. Chauvin was handcuffed immediately and is in custody awaiting sentencing.
On May 25 last year, Chauvin and three other officers arrested George Floyd after a store clerk called in with a suspicion that Chauvin had passed him a counterfeit $20 bill.
In the course of the arrest, the four officers placed Floyd on the road face down. Two other officers held him down, a third kept a watch on bystanders, and Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck and kept it there for more than nine minutes until he was dead.
The other officers will be tried separately for aiding and abetting Chauvin’s murder of Floyd.
The Thing to Know:
The political effect of the criminal proceedings over Floyd’s death has been to polarize all discussions of public policy regarding police and law enforcement. There are few serious reform proposals, mostly just calls to “defund” or “abolish” the police on one side, and continuing efforts to rally around the “thin blue line” on the other.