Former Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s Trial For Murder of George Floyd Begins

Valentina Caceres, Senior Multimedia Editor

On Tuesday, Mar. 9, the first stages of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial officially began.

After his involvement in the death of George Floyd last May, Chauvin faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree and third-degree murder. 

On May 25, 2020, police and bystander videos captured officer Chauvin pinning Floyd down on the pavement and kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes, as Floyd pleaded for help. National protests and outraged sparked, and the four officers involved in the death were arrested.

Though Chauvin had been charged for third-degree murder a few days after Floyd’s death, Hennepin County District Judge Peter A. Cahill dismissed the charge back in October. However, on Thursday, Mar. 11, Cahill, who is overseeing the trial, reinstated the third-degree murder charges, per request of the prosecutors. 

If convicted for the original second-degree murder charges, the court would rule the murder unintentional, and could sentence Chauvin to up to 40 years in prison. The reinstated third-degree murder charges could mean Chauvin endangered multiple people in the act, and he could face a maximum of 25 years, according to The New York Times.

Since the start of jury selection occurred on Tuesday, 6 jurors have been chosen for the trial. According to USA Today, five men and one woman have been selected as jurors, with three identifying as white, one as Hispanic, one as Black, and one as multiracial. 

Judge Cahill has allotted three weeks for the process of jury selection. USA Today reports that demonstrators will protest every day of the trial. On Thursday, Mar. 11, the fourth day of jury selection, protestors already gathered outside of the Hennepin County Government Center, demanding justice for Floyd.