The jury concluded its first day of deliberations on Monday evening (April 19) in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin. As the world awaits a verdict in the case against the former Minneapolis police officer, who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, the jury is expected to resume their deliberations today (April 20).
According to the Hennepin County Court, deliberations began at 4 p.m. local time after the 12-juror panel heard closing arguments from both the defense and prosecutors. Deliberation ended at 8 p.m. and the jurors spent the night at a hotel. The court has not confirmed what time deliberation will reconvene today.
Both prosecutor Steve Schleicher and defense attorney Eric Nelson made their final arguments in front of the court yesterday. As reported by REVOLT, Schleicher claimed Chauvin used excessive force against Floyd because of his pride and ego.
“He was not going to let these bystanders tell him what to do,” Schleicher said. “He was going to do what he wanted, how he wanted, for as long as he wanted. And there was nothing, nothing they can do about it because he had the authority. He had the power and the other officers; the bystanders were powerless.”
“He was trying to win and George Floyd paid for it with his life,” he added.
In response, Nelson argued that Chauvin acted as a “reasonable officer” during his deadly interaction with Floyd.
“You have to look at it from the reasonable police officer standard. You have to take into account that officers are human beings, capable of making mistakes in highly stressful situations,” he said. “In this case, the totality of the circumstances that were known to a reasonable police officer in the precise moment the force was used demonstrates that this was an authorized use of force, as unattractive as it may be. This is reasonable doubt.”
Judge Peter Cahill gave the jury their instructions on the law before and after closing arguments and sent them out of the courtroom just after 4 p.m. local time. In preparation for the jury’s decision, Minneapolis authorities have ramped up security measures and installed fencing around the Hennepin County Government Center last month. National Guardsmen were also deployed ahead of the trial decision and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has requested additional law enforcement help from Ohio and Nebraska.
Social media platforms like Facebook have also pledged to closely monitor online discussions about the trial to look for potential threats.
“We will allow people to discuss, critique and criticize the trial and the attorneys involved,” Facebook Vice President of Content Policy Monika Bicker said in a press statement. “Our teams are working around the clock to look for potential threats both on and off of Facebook and Instagram so we can protect peaceful protests and limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence.”
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder, which carry 40-year and 25-year maximum prison sentences, respectively. He’s also charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a 10-year maximum penalty.