In Minneapolis, Minnesota, 12 jurors now hold the fate of Derek Chauvin as they deliberate his guilt or non-guilt in the death of George Floyd. In a last ditch effort to secure a mistrial, the defense team brought up statements made by congresswoman Maxine Waters, but the judge was having none of that, citing that the jurors have been instructed to avoid all media.
"I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty," she said in response to reporters' questions. "And if we don't, we cannot go away. 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." — CNN
No mistrial was granted.
Chauvin faces three charges:
- second-degree murder, which has a maximum sentence of 40 years
- third-degree murder, which has a maximum sentence of 25 years
- second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years
The jury faces their deliberation behind closed doors after hours of prosecution closing arguments, defense closing arguments, and then the prosecution's rebuttal of the defense's closing arguments.
The prosecution made a strong point that this is not a prosecution of the police department but of an "unreasonable," "excessive," and "grossly disproportionate" show of force.
"You can believe your eyes." Steve Schleicher, prosecution
In the prosecution's rebuttal, Blackwell called on a 46th witness for the trial — common sense. A unanimous decision is necessary to find Chauvin guilty or not guilty, but a non-unanimous conclusion would result in a hung jury. Likely if the decision is not unanimous, the judge would ask the jury to return to their deliberations and try to come to a decision.
There's no way to predict how long the jury will deliberate, but the family of George Floyd, the media, and the country all wait for the return of the jury. The prosecution and defense teams also wait and sweat the results. Often, juries will send out a note with a question on it or asking clarification on certain components of evidence. Both teams wait for those notes which often will be revealing as to what direction a jury may be leaning.
Speculation swirls until the moment that final verdict is read. Many speculate about public outcry that could ensue if Chauvin is not found guilty on all three charges. Cities around the country, as well as Minneapolis, are preparing for the verdict. The National Guard is certainly positioning to protect the community from rioters that hitchhike their shenanigans on the coattails of legal, law-abiding protestors.
Police officers also brace themselves between concern over their own careers, the state of policing in this country, and over their own conflicting emotions over the Chauvin trial. Many officers denounce Chauvin's use of force resulting in the death of George Floyd. Now, they, too, wait to see the verdict and to face the potential consequences for that result.
One particularly moving testimony came when Floyd's brother took the stand last week:
President Biden is reportedly also paying close attention to the trial and is preparing to offer his administration's support to efforts to move toward social change, to fight the systemic injustices, and also to keep the peace during tumultuous and tense moments such as these. While the world waits...12 debate.
Will the jury come back quickly? Or will they have questions that need answers before they can come to a decision?What do YOU think?
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