The jury rendered guilty verdicts on all three charges against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin a few minutes ago. The charges were brought in an atmosphere of mob justice on May 29 and June 3, within days of the death of George Floyd this past May 25. He will be sentenced on the second-degree murder charge that was the most serious of the three.
Chauvin was repeatedly declared guilty of murder by Governor Tim “tear down this” Walz, Attorney General and former Nation of Islam race hustler Keith Ellison in press conferences broadcast statewide in the immediate aftermath of Floyd’s death. Walz called another press conference for the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul to do it again yesterday as the Chauvin jury retired to deliberate and of course we had the invaluable contribution of Mad Maxine Waters to add to the mix as well. Mad Maxine demanded a conviction of Chauvin on first degree murder, a charge which the prosecutors had somehow failed to bring.
The courthouse where the trial occurred visibly manifested the atmosphere. The 24-story courthouse building was ringed with bricks and razor wire in advance of the trial. Soldiers and law enforcement authorities have protected the building over the past six weeks.
But for the trial the building was essentially closed for reasons of security. Any reasonable observer might question whether Derek Chauvin could receive, or did receive, a fair trial in Hennepin County. I certainly do. In his order denying Chauvin’s motion for a change of venue, Judge Cahill acknowledged the problem but deemed it irremediable by a change of venue. I doubt that too, but the defense more or less left it there.
I watched the trial from jury selection through the verdicts today. I gave my assessment of the case in advance of the verdicts on Sunday in “Random thoughts on the Chauvin trial.” I won’t repeat them here.
Contrary to my understanding of the case before trial and my predisposition to support law enforcement, I thought the prosecution introduced powerful evidence against Chauvin and that the defense case was thin and weak. Indeed, the defense argument that CO poisoning from the squad car’s exhaust contributed to Floyd’s death proved to be an exploding cigar of an argument, just to take one small example. That’s the way I saw it anyway. God save us from the clowns, cowards, and opportunists seeking to turn this case to their own uses.