MINNEAPOLIS — The murder case against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd has gone to the jury.
Twelve jurors — six of them white, six Black or multiracial — are beginning deliberations in a city on edge against another round of unrest.
During closing arguments Monday, prosecutors contended that Chauvin squeezed the life out of Floyd by pinning his knee against Floyd’s neck last May, ignoring bystanders, his own training and common sense.
The defense argued that the now-fired white officer acted reasonably and that the 46-year-old Black man died of an underlying heart condition and illegal drug use.
The jury deliberated into the night Monday, concluding just after 8 p.m. local time. But there is already a general acceptance of what could come next.
Larry Hamm, founder of the People’s Organization for Progress, spoke Monday in Newark; he was encouraging expected protests if Chauvin isn’t found guilty.
“If there isn’t a conviction, there’s going to be a massive outpouring of protests in this country — and there should be,” he said. “It should happen again, and again, and again until they stop murdering unarmed people in the street. That’s the problem. The problem is police brutality.”
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging peaceful protest.
“I won’t prejudge anything that’s going to happen this week,” he said at a daily news conference Monday. “I will only say, if folks have feelings they want to express, do it peacefully. It does make an impact, it does make a difference. And the very few who do something that’s not peaceful actually take away from the meaning of everybody else.”
Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, tweeted out a long letter warning his NYPD members how to conduct themselves during the expected protests.
“Make sure that you are clearly and unequivocally within the bounds of the law before taking any enforcement action. If you are not 100% certain that your actions are within the four corners of the law, do not take action unless ordered to by a higher-ranking officer and document that order.”