Jury Reaches a Verdict in Derek Chauvin Trial
The jurors, who began deliberating for four hours on Monday night, must decide whether to convict Derek Chauvin of murder. Here’s the latest.,
Reporting from Minneapolis
When the alert went out from the court about 2:30 p.m. local time that a verdict had been reached and would be read in an hour, residents, activists and journalists descended on the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. For weeks, downtown had been eerily quiet, as buildings were boarded up and office workers stayed home. But suddenly on Tuesday afternoon there were traffic jams, and the green space in front of the court felt like an anxious street festival, with everyone waiting to see if the city would burst into celebration over a guilty verdict or explode into anger over another police officer being acquitted after killing a Black man.
Reporting from Minneapolis
Outside of the building where the jury’s verdict is about to be read, Courteney Ross, who was George Floyd’s girlfriend and who testified in the trial, says she is confident that Derek Chauvin will be convicted of second-degree murder, the most severe charge he is facing. “I am convinced that there is going to be a guilty verdict coming,” Ms. Ross tells reporters.
Reporting from Minneapolis
Employees at Cup Foods, the store outside of which George Floyd died, were rushing to close up their business before the verdict was read this afternoon. “Safety’s more important,” said Billy Abumayyaleh, one of the owners, as he stared at a television playing the news of preparations for the verdict. “As long as we get a guilty verdict, that’s all that matters.”
Reporting from Minneapolis
“Just on edge about seeing what it’s going to be,” Raykel Neubert said as she worked on someone’s cellphone at Cup Foods. Neubert witnessed Mr. Floyd being pinned in the street by Derek Chauvin last year and has been shaken ever since.
If the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin finds him guilty on any of the three charges he faces, it will certainly be a dramatic televised moment when the verdict is read. But how much prison time Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd, would have to serve if he is found guilty will not be decided until several weeks later, after a pre-sentencing report about Mr. Chauvin’s background is produced. Judge Peter A. Cahill would also have to determine if there were special circumstances of the crime that would justify a higher sentence than the prison terms laid out by Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines.
Mr. Chauvin, who has been out on bail since last fall, might also be able to go home after a guilty verdict, as he awaits sentencing. It would be up to the judge to either order Mr. Chauvin to jail immediately, or let him remain out on bail, should he be found guilty. Mr. Chauvin is charged with two counts of murder — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — and the sentencing guidelines for each, for a defendant like Mr. Chauvin with no criminal history, is 12.5 years. But the maximum sentences for each charge differ: Second-degree murder could be as high as 40 years in prison, while the maximum for third-degree murder is 25 years.
Mr. Chauvin is also charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but under the guidelines he would most likely be sentenced to four years. But the state has asked for a higher sentence — what is known as an “upward sentencing departure” — citing aggravating factors including, the state has said in court filings, that the killing of Mr. Floyd happened in the presence of children, that Mr. Floyd was treated with “particular cruelty” by Mr. Chauvin, and that Mr. Chauvin, as a police officer, “abused his position of authority.”
Mr. Chauvin had the option of having the jury rule on the aggravating factors or putting it in the hands of Judge Cahill. At the end of closing arguments on Monday, Mr. Chauvin waived his right to have the jury decide, putting the decision on sentencing solely in the hands of Judge Cahill.
Reporting from Chicago
The jury’s verdict is expected to be read between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time.
Reporting from Minneapolis
Derek Chauvin is now at the courthouse with his lawyer, per a pool reporter, waiting for the jury’s verdict to be read.
The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, and its decision will be read between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time.
Mr. Chauvin faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. The most serious charge, second-degree murder, would most likely carry an 11- to 15-year sentence, but it could carry a penalty as high as 40 years.
The verdict comes the day after lawyers gave their closing arguments, the culmination of three weeks of witness testimonies that were livestreamed to a large audience. The 12-person jury heard from 45 witnesses in total, 38 from the prosecution and seven from Mr. Chauvin’s defense.
Among them was a young woman who used her cellphone to videotape the arrest of Mr. Floyd, which infuriated many Americans who saw his death as an emblem of racial injustice. A wave of protests — possibly the largest in American history — washed over the country in the weeks and months that followed.
Other witnesses included use-of-force experts, the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, paramedics who responded to the scene and medical experts, including a pulmonologist and a cardiologist.
During closing arguments, prosecutors asked jurors to “believe your eyes” and the feelings they had while watching the wrenching videos of Mr. Floyd’s final moments under the knee of Mr. Chauvin. The defense argued that Mr. Chauvin was acting as any reasonable police officer would, and said the state had ignored other possible contributing factors to Mr. Floyd’s death, including heart problems and drug use.
In Minneapolis, tensions are high as the public awaits the jury’s verdict. More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen have been deployed to the city, and on Monday law enforcement agencies and community organizations asked for peace.
As jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial finished their first hours of deliberation on Monday night, Tracy Wiggins was putting his daughter to bed at their home in south Minneapolis and worrying about what would happen next in the case that has catalyzed American concerns over race and policing.
“As a Black man in America, none of this surprises me,” said Mr. Wiggins, 52, who works in project management for Target, one of the city’s biggest companies. “I’ve been told all my life this is how the world is. The newness is for other people.”
Mr. Wiggins, who grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., and served six years in the Marine Corps, said he and his wife have followed the trial in fits and starts during their busy remote workdays. He was surprised to see so many police officers, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, testify that Mr. Chauvin’s actions violated Minneapolis Police Department policy.
“You usually don’t see police department officials come out and speak against a current or former police officer,” Mr. Wiggins said. “That was striking early on.”
Minneapolis has been on edge for weeks in anticipation of a verdict. The city has stepped up security, erected fences and barricades and called in more than 3,000 National Guard troops.
Mr. Wiggins said the damage to property, including at stores owned by his employer, during the protests following Mr. Floyd’s death last summer was perhaps a necessary evil, given the harm that has come to Black people at the hands of law enforcement for generations.
“As unfortunate as it is, if that’s what it takes to institute change, then so be it,” he said. “To save lives in the long term, I can’t say that I’m opposed to it.”
Mr. Wiggins said he hoped that a greater understanding of the discrimination that Black people face could lead to meaningful change. “I’m a little concerned that there will be a backlash, like there was with affirmative action in the ’80s,” he said, “but I’m cautiously optimistic.”
Cities across the country are preparing for protests as the jury in the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin entered its second day of deliberations on Tuesday. With the memory of last summer’s protests after George Floyd’s death still fresh, some states have ordered National Guard troops to be on standby in anticipation of large protests if there is an acquittal.
Police chiefs are urging protesters to be peaceful, and businesses in many cities, from Indianapolis to Los Angeles to New York, are boarding up windows. The courthouse where the trial is being held is surrounded by razor-wire, fencing, concrete barriers and dozens of National Guard troops.
It will be up to each governor to decide whether troops or law enforcement will be necessary to help with possible protests. So far, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., have done so.
Here’s how cities are preparing:
Minneapolis: On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz declared a “peacetime emergency” and said that state troopers from Nebraska and Ohio would come to Minneapolis to help overwhelmed local and state law enforcement. There are already 3,000 National Guard troops in Minneapolis and 1,000 law enforcement officers, including state troopers. The force is patrolling the downtown and metropolitan areas.
Construction workers boarded up dozens of additional buildings downtown on Tuesday morning. The local police and sheriff’s deputies patrolled the streets in squad cars near the courthouse, focusing on shopping centers. And businesses set up additional concrete barriers and fencing, making it harder to access parking lots and entrances. Some businesses have taken to spray painting or posting signs to alert customers that they are open, even if windows appear covered. On one corner downtown, at least six National Guard Humvees were parked with about a dozen guards.
Washington, D.C.: On Monday, the National Guard was called up in case of protests through May 9, according to a news release. Last summer, the Guard used chemical irritants, including tear gas, and a helicopter to try to clear Lafayette Square, the plaza in front of the White House, drawing criticism about the heavy-handed policing of the protests.
Chicago: Gov. JB Pritzker ordered state troopers and 125 National Guard troops to help law enforcement in Chicago. The authorities in Chicago were already on edge after the police released a video of an officer shooting Adam Toledo, an unarmed 13-year-old boy, on April 16. The protests so far have been peaceful. But last summer, the city took to raising the bridges in downtown Chicago to prevent protests from reaching major retailers, fearing violence similar to that in Minneapolis.
New York: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hasn’t ordered National Guard troops to New York City. Last summer, the city’s Police Department, which has more than 30,000 officers, handled the protests after Mr. Floyd’s death. The first nights of protests last year ended in sporadic violence and looting in SoHo and Midtown.
As jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial consider a verdict, Minnesota’s largest employers are bracing for a reopening of last summer’s wounds.
George Floyd’s killing ignited violence and unrest last summer that forced Target to shutter a number of its stores and limit hours in others. More broadly, it set off a social reckoning across corporate America, as business leaders sought to address racial inequity both within their own walls and the community at large. In Minnesota, more than 80 companies including General Mills, Best Buy and 3M started the Minnesota Business Coalition for Racial Equity aimed at improving outcomes for the state’s Black community.
As the state gears up for the possibility of renewed unrest, a spokesman for Target said the retailer was “closely monitoring the trial and any surrounding activity,” but did not indicate any plans to close stores in advance of a verdict.
The majority of the company’s headquarters work force is already working from home, but for those employees still in its main office and stores downtown, “we’ve communicated to them about the trial, shared that we’re monitoring closely and let them know we’ll reach out if there’s any impact to our business,” the Target spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for General Mills, which sells its Cheerios and other baked goods around the world, said the company remained focused on broader issues facing the company and country.
“As a global company headquartered in Minneapolis, we understand the nation is in a long overdue conversation on systemic racism,” she said. “Further, we know we have a role to play and all of us have a lot of work to do on this count.” The company’s top priority is communicating its “support and allyship” to its employees, she said.
Minnesota’s largest company by revenue, UnitedHealth Group, is “offering training for managers to have conversations with their teams, and seminars focused on empathy and compassion,” a spokesman said. “Our priority during this period is supporting our employees who continue to be affected in different ways by this case.”
At 3M, which makes products across a broad array of industries, the company has increased resources in its employee assistance program, a spokesman said. “We continue to have, and encourage, open discussions with our colleagues to listen, understand, and act, as needed.”
President Biden called the family of George Floyd on Monday to express his support and sympathy, telling reporters on Tuesday that the evidence against the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was “overwhelming” and that he was praying for the “right verdict.”
It is highly unusual for a president to weigh in on behalf of a specific outcome in a judicial proceeding. On Monday, Peter A. Cahill, the Minnesota state judge who is presiding in the case, warned politicians to refrain from commenting on the outcome after Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, urged demonstrators to mobilize in anticipation of the verdict.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling, so I waited till the jury was sequestered,” Mr. Biden said of his conversation with the Floyd family during brief remarks in the Oval Office.
“They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquillity, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict.”
The evidence “is overwhelming in my view,” Mr. Biden said, adding that most of the conversation focused on “personal things.”
The president quickly defended his decision to weigh in on an unresolved trial, saying he thought it was appropriate to do so because all the evidence had been presented and the jury would not hear his remarks.
“I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now,” he added, following a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Later, Mr. Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, brushed aside suggestions that the president’s comments undermined an independent judiciary, but she did not clarify what he meant by calling for “the right” verdict.
“I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,” she told reporters during her daily briefing. “He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family.”
Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden, who flew to Houston to console Mr. Floyd’s family before his funeral last June, had been speaking from his “heart” and would have further comment on the trial once the verdict had been rendered.
Mr. Floyd’s family discussed the president’s call during a television appearance earlier in the day.
“He was just calling,” Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s brother, told NBC’s “Today” show early Tuesday, a day after the Chauvin jury had retired to consider the verdict.
“He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through,” he continued. “So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”
Shortly after video circulated last May showing Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, Mr. Biden expressed sympathy with the family and called Mr. Floyd’s death an example of an “ingrained systemic cycle of injustice” that plagued the country.
“George Floyd’s life matters,” Mr. Biden said during a livestream with supporters at the time. “It mattered as much as mine. It matters as much as anyone’s in this country. At least it should have.”
The jury has begun deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who has been charged in connection with the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died on May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of Mr. Chauvin, who is white, for more than nine minutes.
Throughout the trial, which began on March 29, the jury heard from 45 witnesses, including bystanders and experts, viewed hours of video of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, and heard arguments from the prosecution and the defense, each presenting a different narrative of what caused Mr. Floyd’s death. Here are some of the key people in the trial.
Derek Chauvin, 45, had been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for more than 19 years before George Floyd’s death. During that time, he was the subject of at least 22 complaints and internal investigations.
Mr. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Mr. Floyd.
Judge Peter A. Cahill is a 14-year veteran of the bench in Hennepin County. He has previously worked as a public defender, private defense lawyer and prosecutor, rising to become chief deputy under Amy Klobuchar, now a U.S. senator, when she served as the county attorney.
The jury — made up of 12 jurors and two alternates — was chosen from a pool of more than 300 people from across Hennepin County. Throughout the trial, they have remained anonymous; their faces were not shown on camera.
The jurors’ identities are secret, but the court has released some demographic information: There are three Black men, one Black woman, two women who identified as multiracial, two white men and four white women. They are from urban and suburban areas, ranging in age from 20s to 60s.
Jerry W. Blackwell, a corporate attorney, was the first lawyer to speak when the trial opened. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general, brought Mr. Blackwell in only for this case, and Mr. Blackwell is working for free.
Steve Schleicher, an experienced trial and appellate lawyer and former federal prosecutor, spent 13 years in the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, as the deputy criminal chief of the special prosecution section and the St. Paul branch chief, according to a biography on his firm’s website. He gave the prosecution’s closing argument, while Mr. Blackwell handled its rebuttal.
Erin Eldridge, an assistant attorney general, works in the office’s criminal division. Among the witnesses she questioned was Charles McMillian, who broke down on the stand while he recounted watching Mr. Chauvin pin Mr. Floyd to the ground.
Matthew Frank, an assistant attorney general for Minnesota, took the lead in questioning many of the witnesses, including several who shared emotional and detailed accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest on May 25.
Other lawyers on the prosecution team who have not appeared in court include Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general; Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general during the Obama administration who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court; and Sundeep Iyer and Harrison Gray Kilgore, lawyers with Hogan Lovells who joined the prosecution pro hac vice, meaning the judge has allowed them to work on the case despite not being licensed by the bar in Minnesota.
Mr. Chauvin is represented by Eric J. Nelson, a defense lawyer who rotates as counsel for the legal defense fund of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer’s Association. Mr. Nelson took on Mr. Chauvin’s defense over the summer, after his first lawyer retired. Amy Voss, another lawyer, whom Mr. Nelson identified as his assistant, appeared in court throughout the trial but did not speak.
Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Amr Alfiky/The New York Times
Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times
Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times
Amr Alfiky/The New York Times
Demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis on Monday as jury deliberations started in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Damik Wright, the brother of Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by a police officer on April 11, at a protest outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Roosevelt High School students participated in a statewide walkout to protest racial injustice. A couple visited “Say Their Names Cemetery,” a memorial to victims of police violence.
Twelve jurors resumed their deliberations on Tuesday morning in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, marking their second day of discussions over evidence in the closely watched case.
The jurors are being sequestered in a hotel each night until they reach a verdict or determine that it is impossible for them all to agree. They must be unanimous in order to convict or acquit Mr. Chauvin of any of the three charges he is facing: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The jurors’ identities are secret, but the court has released some demographic information: The jurors include four white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman, and two multiracial women. They range in age from their 20s to their 60s.
Before Judge Peter A. Cahill sent jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial home last week, he gave them short and vague instructions on what they might need to pack for deliberations.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” he said. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”
So far, the 12 jurors — six white, four Black and two who identify as multiracial — have deliberated for four hours. A verdict could come as soon as Tuesday or stretch into next week or beyond.
On Monday, jurors began discussing the evidence surrounding the death of George Floyd after listening to closing arguments. Prosecutors told them to trust what they saw in a bystander video of Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, pinning a handcuffed Mr. Floyd to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The lawyer for Mr. Chauvin emphasized Mr. Floyd’s use of drugs and said the officer had followed department policies.
During deliberations, the jury will have access to the evidence and exhibits presented in court. The jurors will remain sequestered in a hotel, ideally secluded from outside influences, until reaching a unanimous verdict. If the jury is hung, or cannot reach a decision on one or more charges, the judge may declare a mistrial.
Eric Anderson, senior trial counsel at Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae in California and a former prosecutor, said that jury deliberation lengths vary widely.
“There’s no way of telling how long this will take, particularly when I think that the jurors will try to do the right thing, whatever they think that is,” he said. “And to get to the right thing, they’re going to want to look very closely at the evidence. They’re going to want to look closely at every possible angle.”
It took a jury in Chicago less than eight hours in 2018 to convict Jason Van Dyke, a former Chicago police officer, of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was carrying a knife but heading away from the police.
In the case of Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk in 2017, jurors took 11 hours to reach a verdict, MPR News reported. They found him guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but not second-degree murder.
After three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, the lawyers gave their concluding arguments on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd.
Judge Peter A. Cahill started the day with instructions for the jury, whose task it is to determine whether Mr. Chauvin is guilty of the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. For second-degree murder, the most serious charge, the state has to prove that Mr. Chauvin assaulted Mr. Floyd and that the assault was a substantial factor in his death.
Prosecutors do not have to prove that he intended to kill Mr. Floyd.
Arguments began with a commanding rebuke of the defense’s case from one of the prosecutors, Steve Schleicher. He called several of the defense’s points “nonsense” and said that Mr. Chauvin betrayed his oath as a police officer.
For his part, Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, asked jurors to take in the totality of the evidence, and criticized the state for dismissing other possible contributing factors in Mr. Floyd’s death, including heart problems and drug use.
Here are some key takeaways.
Mr. Schleicher began with a chilling description of the arrest, setting the tone for his primary argument: That jurors should “believe their eyes” when they watch the videos of Mr. Floyd being pinned to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Mr. Schleicher talked about the “unyielding pavement,” and what he believed to be Mr. Floyd’s desperate struggle to lift his chest and fill his lungs with air. He reminded jurors of Mr. Floyd’s last words, “Please, I can’t breathe.”
He reinforced what Mr. Floyd’s brother and former girlfriend told the jury: That Mr. Floyd was loved by many people who knew him, that he loved his mother, that he was more than the symbol he became in death. He died “surrounded by strangers,” Mr. Schleicher said — pinned between the pavement and the knee of Mr. Chauvin. “Not a familiar face to say his final words,” Mr. Schleicher said. “But he did say them to someone — he said them to someone who he did not know by name, but he knew him from the uniform he wore and the badge he wore, and he called him ‘Mr. Officer.'”
A primary focus of the prosecution was dismissing some of the arguments of the defense. “You’re not required to accept nonsense,” Mr. Schleicher told jurors, pointing to the opinion offered by a defense witness that Mr. Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd did not constitute use of force, and that the exhaust from the tailpipe of a police cruiser might have contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. “Use your common sense,” Mr. Schleicher said. “Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw.”
Mr. Nelson focused largely on whether Mr. Chauvin acted the way a reasonable police officer would. He reinforced ideas that he had proposed during the three weeks of witness testimony, including that suspects who do not appear to be dangerous can quickly become so. “A reasonable police officer understands the intensity of the struggle,” he said, pointing out how difficult it was for Mr. Chauvin and other officers to put Mr. Floyd into the back of a police cruiser.
He also highlighted the moment that Mr. Floyd took his last breath, showing those few seconds from the vantage point of a security camera. At that moment, Mr. Nelson said, a crowd of angry bystanders, who could also pose a threat to officers, was becoming louder and louder, and that Mr. Chauvin pulled a can of mace from his belt — a sign that he felt he was in danger. “All of the evidence shows that Mr. Chauvin thought he was following his training,” he said.
Mr. Nelson hit on the issue of “intent,” asking jurors to consider whether Mr. Chauvin would have purposefully caused unlawful harm to Mr. Floyd. Noting that several body-worn cameras were recording the incident, along with the cellphones of bystanders, Mr. Nelson asked jurors why a person would purposefully break the rules when they knew they were being filmed and that their actions would be reviewed by their supervisors.
On Mr. Floyd’s cause of death, Mr. Nelson said it was “preposterous” for the state and several of its witnesses to have asked jurors to ignore a host of possible contributing factors, including Mr. Floyd’s pre-existing heart problems and drug use. He insisted that the defense’s focus on Mr. Floyd’s drug use was not an attack on his character, but was prompted by the issue’s medical significance.
Jerry Blackwell, another prosecutor, responded to the defense by continuing to urge jurors to follow “common sense,” saying that even a 9-year-old girl who testified earlier in the trial could see that Mr. Chauvin was hurting Mr. Floyd.
Using a chart that showed a dot for every day that Mr. Floyd was alive, Mr. Blackwell spoke of how unlikely it would be that Mr. Floyd would happen to die on May 25, if not for Mr. Chauvin’s use of force. Jurors must decide whether Mr. Chauvin’s restraint was a “substantial factor” in Mr. Floyd’s death, not whether it was the sole factor.
Mr. Blackwell ended his rebuttal by reminding jurors that some witnesses had said Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. “Now, having seen all the evidence, having heard all the evidence, you know the truth,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.“
Minneapolis Public Schools will shift to remote learning later this week in anticipation of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, Ed Graff, the district superintendent, said in a notice sent to the school community last week.
The schools will shift to remote learning from Wednesday through Friday, but if the trial schedule changes, the district will “re-evaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible,” the letter said.
Monday marked the first return to the classroom for sixth-grade students in Minneapolis Public Schools since the start of the pandemic. Seventh and eighth graders will return on Tuesday at most schools, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis Public Schools said. Most high schools returned last week, and elementary schools in February. All grades will shift to remote learning for the trial verdict.
School buildings will remain open, but athletic events and child care will not take place, the letter said. The shift to remote learning does not interrupt boxed meals that are available for students.
The notice also said that age-appropriate resources had been provided to teachers to aid in classroom discussion about the “racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents.”
“As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis,” the letter said.
The Minneapolis Public School district serves more than 35,000 students in the Minneapolis area.
The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, faces three charges in the death of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Second-degree murder, also called unintentional murder or felony murder, is killing someone in the course of committing another felony — in this case, the prosecutors will argue that Mr. Chauvin was assaulting Mr. Floyd. This charge does not require the prosecution to prove that Mr. Chauvin had any intent to kill. It carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, but Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence of 12.5 years for someone who, like Mr. Chauvin, has no prior convictions.
Third-degree murder is a death that occurs when someone is acting extremely dangerously, without regard to human life and “evincing a depraved mind.” Prosecutors will argue that Mr. Chauvin knew that the restraint he used on Mr. Floyd was potentially lethal and a violation of police procedure and training. Third-degree murder carries a sentence of up to 25 years. The guideline recommendation is 10.5 years.
Second-degree manslaughter is death by “culpable negligence,” in which the perpetrator knowingly risks causing death or serious harm. It’s punishable by up to 10 years, but under the state guidelines a likely sentence would be four years.
In the three weeks of the trial of Derek Chauvin, dozens of witnesses have testified; hours of video of George Floyd’s arrest have been played, paused and replayed; and two sides of the courtroom have presented opposing narratives to a jury tasked with determining the guilt or innocence of a former police officer charged with murder in one of the most watched trials in decades.
Through witness testimony, several distinct themes have emerged as the most crucial points of contention: whether Mr. Chauvin violated policy when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes; what role, if any, drugs played in Mr. Floyd’s death; and what kind of impact the arrest may have had on the people who witnessed it.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 to report that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.
By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.