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The Chauvin Trial: Episodes from the Trial of the Decade

Combined Shape

In a year full of trauma and turmoil, George Floyd’s death was without a doubt the seminal moment of 2020.

Not only did the May 25 event propel the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement into the mainstream, but the many demonstrations that followed also helped to normalize rioting and looting across the country.

The subsequent trial of Derek Chauvin (on April 2o, Chauvin was found guilty on all charges), the former Minneapolis police officer who had knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes prior to his death, will also have aftershocks likely to be felt for generations.

Here’s our running look at the Chauvin trial, its fallout and Chauvin’s case for appeal:

Episode 1: The State’s Case Rests on Experts and Emotion   

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Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant Derek Chauvin listen April 14 as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over motions in the trial at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant Derek Chauvin listen April 14 as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over motions in the trial at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV / AP)

Emotional testimonies and expert witnesses buttress the prosecution’s case for conviction, albeit whether the evidence presented was enough to quash the reasonable doubt standard remains in question.

Multiple medical examiners agreed that Floyd’s death was indeed caused by Chauvin, and many of the defendant’s former colleagues claimed his restraint of Floyd was excessive use of force.

Episode 2: Video of Floyd’s 2019 Arrest Bolsters the Defense’s Case 

Scott Creighton, a retired Minneapolis police officer, testifies for the defense in the trial of Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on April 13.

Scott Creighton, a retired Minneapolis police officer, testifies for the defense in the trial of Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on April 13. (Court TV / AP)

Chauvin’s defense begins its case with compelling evidence, namely, bodycam footage of George Floyd’s 2019 arrest.

In showing the footage, Chauvin’s attorney — Eric Nelson — hoped to show parallels to the erratic behavior displayed by Floyd during the 2020 arrest.

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The Verdict

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the May 25 death of George Floyd.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the May 25 death of George Floyd. (Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office / Getty Images)

The jury’s verdict shocked many, with Chauvin being found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. A second-degree murder conviction in Minnesota carries a maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars.

Many believed that Chauvin’s crime didn’t definitionally fit the two murder charges, which made the jury’s determination somewhat of a shock to many who had been closely following the case.

Episode 3: Democrats Gift Chauvin a Case For Appeal

Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on after the verdicts were read at Chauvin's trial in the 2020 death of George Floyd on April 20 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.

Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on April 20. (Court TV / AP)

Democrats may have handed Derek Chauvin a get-out-of-jail-free card, thanks in large part to Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters’ comments at an anti-police protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Following a series of riots prior to the Chauvin verdict, Waters suggested protesters should get “more confrontational” if the trial did not go the way anti-police activists were hoping it would.

Given that the jury was not sequestered, this has led many to believe the case may be thrown out in appeal. Prior to the jury’s deliberations, Judge Peter Cahill suggested as much as he chastised Waters and other politicians who commented on the case.

The Appeals Process

More episodes are likely to follow as Chauvin is likely to attempt to appeal the verdict.

Under Minnesota law, from the day the verdict was announced, he has 90 days to appeal, according to ABC News.

From there, it could take roughly one year for the process to run its course.

And, every step of the way, The Western Journal will be here to provide updated coverage of the latest developments.

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Birthplace
Ames, Iowa




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