- The death of Georges Floyd in 2020, stifled during an arrest, had provoked a wave of indignation and demonstrations, some of which had turned into riot.
- Police officer Derek Chauvin must be tried on several counts, including “second degree murder”.
- The city where the trial is being held is under siege.
A little less than a year ago, America – and the world – saw the slow agony of George Floyd, who died screaming “I can’t breathe”, the neck crushed by the knee of Derek Chauvin for 7 minutes and 46 seconds. After a vast mobilization against racism and police violence last spring, the trial of Derek Chauvin is to open Monday with the selection of the jury. And all eyes will be on a city of Minneapolis under siege. However, a postponement is not excluded after a last-minute appeal decision on Friday.
A last minute postponement possible
On Friday, therefore, a Minnesota court of appeal reversed the decision of Judge Cahill, who had quashed one of the charges (3rd degree murder) for which Derek Chauvin had been indicted. This means that the judge will have to decide whether or not to reinstate her, after having listened to both parties. This could postpone the selection of the jury, which was to start Monday, before a hearing start set for March 29. However, it is possible that the selection begins as planned and that the magistrate deals with this unforeseen event in parallel.
Derek Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison
Derek Chauvin is due to appear on two charges:
- second degree murder (intentional but without premeditation), punishable by up to 40 years in prison
- second-degree homicide (maximum 10 years’ imprisonment)
If the judge decided to restore 3rd degree murder (punishable by 25 years in prison), it would give prosecutors an intermediate option to get a unanimous verdict on a murder charge without having to prove intentional.
Minneapolis under high tension
Concrete blocks, wire netting, barbed wire… A double security perimeter has been deployed around the court in downtown Minneapolis. The Black Lives Matter movement called for peaceful demonstrations on Monday morning. According to the mayor, up to 3,000 police and soldiers of the National Guard will be mobilized, especially at the time of the verdict. Last May, some demonstrations had degenerated into riots, and a police station in the city was set on fire. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said his services were “ready to protect infrastructure but also the right to protest.” “