What Derek Chauvin is charged with in George Floyd's death

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
·2-min read

Jury deliberations resumed Tuesday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd. The judge handed the case to the 12-member panel, which deliberated for four hours Monday before adjourning for the day.

Chauvin is facing three charges in the death of Floyd: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The jury could convict him on all three, two, one or none.

Here's what you need to know about the charges and what prosecutors must have proved in order to convict Chauvin:

Second-degree unintentional murder

Prosecutors must have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin caused Floyd's death while assaulting him. This is the most serious charge. It carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, according to state sentencing guidelines. But for people with no criminal history, like Chauvin, the presumptive sentence is 12.5 years.

Third-degree murder

Prosecutors must have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin caused Floyd's death "by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life." The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, or a presumptive sentence of 12.5 years for a person with no criminal history.

Second-degree manslaughter

Prosecutors must have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin was "culpably negligent" and took an "unreasonable risk" with Floyd's life when he restrained him and that his actions put Floyd at risk of death or great harm. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, or a presumptive sentence of four years for a person with no criminal history.

For each charge, the state is seeking a sentence that goes above the guideline range, citing aggravating factors, including that Floyd was particularly vulnerable and that his death was witnessed by multiple children.

None of the charges requires prosecutors to prove Chauvin intended to kill Floyd, only that Chauvin's actions caused Floyd's death. Guilty verdicts must be unanimous, which means the defense needed to raise reasonable doubt in the mind of just one of the 12 who are deliberating the case.

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