Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday was found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, a highly controversial case in which the white officer was recorded as he knelt on the Black man's neck for more than 9 minutes as the victim repeatedly said, "I can't breathe."
Closing arguments began on Monday. The jury deliberated for four hours on Monday and resumed Tuesday morning.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Chauvin used deadly and excessive force. The top homicide investigator in Minneapolis had testified that Chauvin used "totally unnecessary" force.
Chauvin declined to testify in his defense, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
Defense experts had claimed that Chauvin had acted within the bounds of normal policing when he knelt on Floyd and that restraint was not a contributing factor in Floyd’s death.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
The second-degree murder charge could carry a penalty as high as 40 years.
The case began when a grocery store employee believed that Floyd had paid for cigarettes with a fake $20 bill.
For more than 9 minutes, Floyd, who was handcuffed and face down on the pavement, said repeatedly that he could not breathe. Other officers looked on while Chauvin restrained him.
Three other officers were charged in the case. Their trial has been scheduled to begin in August.
Before he died, Floyd cried for his dead mother and his children, saying, “Momma, I love you. Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”
Two autopsies determined Floyd's death was a homicide.
A video of Floyd's death went viral, sparking a wave of protests around the country and abroad.
Chauvin's trial began on March 8, with opening statements occurring on March 29. The 12-person jury heard from 45 witnesses in total, 38 from the prosecution and seven from Chauvin’s defense.
On March 12, Minneapolis announced a settlement with Floyd's family for $27 million.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said he was "praying the verdict is the right verdict."
"It's overwhelming, in my view," Biden said. "I wouldn't say that unless the jury was sequestered."
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) had sparked controversy over the weekend when she said, "I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty."
"And if we don't, we cannot go away," Waters continued. "We've got to stay on the street. We get more active, we've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business."
In response Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the Chauvin case, said Waters's remarks could be grounds for appealing a verdict in the trial.