United Kingdom

Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd - latest reaction

Derek Chauvin is facing three charges:

Second-degree unintentional murder

Prosecutors must prove Mr Chauvin caused Mr Floyd's death while committing a crime - in this case, assault. Jurors were told to "cause" a person's death means to be a “substantial causal factor” in the incident. They must consider whether Mr Chauvin used excessive force and assaulted the 46-year-old while kneeling on his neck. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Third-degree murder

Prosecutors must prove Mr Chauvin’s actions were “eminently dangerous” and evinced a "depraved mind", with no regard for human life. Legal experts have noted that defining a "depraved mind" is complex. Third-degree murder is typically used to describe the deaths of more than one person, for instance drug dealers who unintentionally caused the deaths of their customers.   However another Minneapolis police officer was convicted of the charge in 2019, and upheld on a recent appeal, setting a precedent that allowed prosecutors to bring the charge in this case. It carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. However, given Mr Chauvin's clean record, he would be more likely to receive 12.5 years if convicted of either murder charge.

Second-degree manslaughter

The least serious of the three charges, this count requires jurors to believe that Mr Chauvin caused Mr Floyd’s death through negligence. The police officer must have consciously taken the chance of causing severe injury or death to be found guilty. It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

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