US jury finds Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd

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A jury has found a former police officer guilty of murder over the death of African-American George Floyd on a Minneapolis street last year.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May

The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

Chauvin was found guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The 12-member jury panel took less than a day to reach their verdict, which followed a highly-charged, three-week trial that left the city of Minneapolis on edge.

After both sides presented closing arguments on Monday, the jury was isolated in a hotel with no outside contact so they could deliberate on a verdict, a process known as sequestration.

Jurors had to agree on a unanimous verdict and were told they could not return home until they had made their decision.

The 46-year-old bought a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store in South Minneapolis on the evening of 25 May, 2020. A shop assistant believed he had used a counterfeit $20 bill and called the police after Mr Floyd refused to give the cigarettes back

When police arrived, they ordered Mr Floyd out of his parked car and handcuffed him. A struggle ensued when officers tried to put a screaming Mr Floyd in their squad car.

They wrestled him to the ground and pinned him under their weight. Mr Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of Mr Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, as the suspect and several bystanders pleaded for his life.

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As he was being restrained, Mr Floyd said more than 20 times that he could not breathe, pleading for his mother and begging “please, please, please”. When the ambulance arrived, Mr Floyd was motionless. He was pronounced dead about an hour later.

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