MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — A verdict has been reached in the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in the death of George Floyd.
The verdict will be read in open court at 5 p.m. ET. NewsNation will live stream the coverage in the player above.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s death sparked protests and civil unrest in Minneapolis and across the U.S. over police brutality, at points turning violent.
Chauvin was charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter th the May 25 death, following an arrest that happened on suspicion Floyd used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store. The most serious charge, the second-degree murder count, carries up to 40 years in prison. Chauvin pleaded not guilty.
The verdict comes after the racially diverse jury listened to three weeks of evidence filled with countless surveillance videos, emotional testimony and medical experts.
Prosecutors argued that Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd even though he was not resisting, using excessive force in violation of police training, and even when one of the onlookers identified herself as a firefighter and pleaded repeatedly to check Floyd’s pulse, according to witnesses and video.
The defense argued that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s death was not caused by the officer’s knee, as prosecutors contend, but by Floyd’s illegal drug use, heart disease, high blood pressure and the adrenaline flowing through his body.
The prosecution called 11 days worth of witness to the stand whereas the defense only used two days of testimony before resting its case.
The jury was sequestered at a hotel in a city whose downtown is filled with National Guard troops and boarded-up windows, preparing for potential unrest.
City, county and state officials are preparing for any sort of reaction that the verdict might elicit. Barbed and razor wire and concrete barriers surround the courthouse, and strict security was in place to protect trial proceedings. City and state leaders want to avoid a repeat of last year’s protests and rioting that destroyed dozens of businesses and a police station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.