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Derek Chauvin Found GUILTY on ALL Charges for the Murder of George Floyd

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BLACK NEWS ALERTS SPECIAL REPORT

The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

WATCH THE VERDICT LIVE:

Feed courtesy of Washington Post

What We Know:

  • The verdict was read in open court with unanimous decisions on all three counts, none of which carry a charge of life in prison. The three counts are as follows:
    • Second-degree unintentional murder (also referred to as felony murder): Sentence up to 40 years in prison.
    • Third-degree murder: Sentence up to 25 years.
    • Second-degree manslaughter: Sentence up to 10 years.
  • The panel of seven women and five men began deliberating Monday after three weeks of witness testimony.
  • The third-degree murder charge had initially been dismissed, but it was reinstated after an appeals court ruling in an unrelated case established new grounds for it days before jury selection started.
  • Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd, who was Black, was handcuffed and lying on the ground.
  • Prosecutors argued that Chauvin’s actions caused Floyd to die from low oxygen or asphyxia. The defense claimed that Floyd’s illegal drug use and a pre-existing heart condition were to blame and urged jurors not to rule out other theories, as well, including exposure to carbon monoxide.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 03: Graffiti artist Akse spray paints a mural of George Floyd in Manchester’s northern quarter on June 03, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The death of an African-American man, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police has sparked protests across the United States, as well as demonstrations of solidarity in many countries around the world. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • During closing arguments, prosecutors sought to focus jurors’ attention on the 9 minutes, 29 seconds they say Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, while Chauvin’s defense attorney told them that “the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds” of the interaction.
  • Prosecutors called 38 witnesses, including the teenager who recorded the widely seen bystander video that brought global attention to Floyd’s death. She and other bystanders who testified said they are haunted by Floyd’s death and that they wish they had done more to try to save his life. The defense called seven witnesses, two of whom were experts.
  • Chauvin had agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder days after Floyd’s death, but William Barr, then the U.S. attorney general, rejected the deal because, officials said, he was worried that it was too early in the investigation and that it would be perceived as too lenient.

Floyd’s death touched off international protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The city of Minneapolis has spent months preparing for the trial and for the potential of unrest over the verdict.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black News Alerts and the host of Unmuted Nation on BossFM. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Crime

7 People Dead In Colorado Birthday Party Shooting

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According to authorities, a lone gunman opened fire at a birthday party on Sunday, killing six before killing himself.

What We Know:

  • Shortly after midnight, the shooting took place in a mobile home park on the east side of Colorado Springs. Officers responded to a call at 12:18 a.m. and arrived at the trailer to find six adults dead, according to NPR. Another man with serious injuries was found who later died at the hospital.
  • In what Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called “a senseless act of violence,” the shooter entered the mobile home and opened fire. Family friends and children were gathered inside the trailer, but no children were hurt in the shooting. Police say the suspected shooter was the boyfriend of one of the female guests at the party.
  • Gladis Bustos, who lives near where the shooting happened, described the night as quiet before the commotion happened. Bustos said the incident was “a bad, traumatic experience for everyone.” Another neighbor, Denise Knoll, was left speechless by the events. “There’s not really any words, you know? Why people do things like this, I just don’t get it,” said Knoll to NBC.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the Mother’s Day shooting “devastating,” offering his condolences to the victims’ families. Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement a shooting of this kind is something you hope never happens in your community and that the police department would do everything in its power to investigate what happened.
  • The tragic incident in Colorado Springs is the first mass shooting in the state since March. During that incident, ten people were killed when a gunman walked into a grocery store and opened fire. The 1999 shooting at Columbine High School remains one of the most notable mass shootings in the state and nation’s history.

The identities of those killed in the shooting have not yet been released, and the investigation is ongoing. Colorado Springs is the second-largest city in the state after Denver.

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Crime

California Wildfire That Killed Two Was Started to Cover Up Murder, Officials Say

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A wildfire that took place in 2020 was intentionally set to cover up a murder.

What We Know:

  • The Markley Fire was set near a dam in Solano County. Solano County sheriff’s office and Vacaville police reported that the burned body of a Priscilla Castro was later found in that area. Two other individuals were also found dead in their homes from the fire. Sheriff Tom Ferrara said that Douglas Mai and Leon Bone were also victims in the fire at a news conference.
  • A Victor Serriteno was arrested by Vacaville police back in September and charged with murder in Castro’s death. According to the city’s District Attorney, prosecutors will file to add two more murder and arson charges. The Markley Fire started on August 18th, and Castro’s body was found one month later in a rural area. Investigators believe Castro went to meet Serentino in Vacaville on August 16th and was never heard from again afterward.
  • Authorities believe Serriteno deliberately started the Markley Fire in an attempt to conceal his crime. The investigation lasted about eight months before a conclusion had been reached. Online court records show a public defender is representing Serriteno. The Markley Fire combined with a larger fire called the Hennessy Fire.
  • The larger fire was known as part of the “LNU Lightning Complex” fires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has considered this one of the largest wildfires in California history. The fires were a result of two days of lightning strikes. The LNU Complex destroyed almost 1,500 structures and has claimed six lives.

The LNU complex was fully contained by early October, and Cal Fire said the 2020 fire season would be counted as one of the most severe in the history of the United States.

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Crime

FBI Opens Civil Rights Investigation into Andrew Brown Jr. Shooting

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The FBI confirmed Tuesday that it would investigate the killing of Andrew Brown Jr.

What We Know:

  • Brown is a black man from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, who was shot dead by police during an arrest last week. The investigation was announced just one day after attorneys for Brown’s family were allowed to watch 20 seconds of body cam footage. The 42-year-old was shot in the back of the head while he had hands-on his steering wheel. Brown’s autopsy revealed that he was shot five times in all, including four times in his right arm.
  • Sheriff’s deputies shot Brown in an attempt to serve a drug-related search and arrest warrants. Seven of the deputies involved have since been placed on paid leave. A statement by the FBI claims that investigators will work closely with the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina to determine if federal laws were violated.
  • The spokesperson declined to go into further details as the investigation is ongoing. Brown was killed just one day after a jury found Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd.  Attorney’s for Brown’s family are condemning his murder and also asking for more footage to be released. A request has been made to a judge that they permit the release of said video.
  • Brown’s family claims the police appeared to lack justification for using deadly force based on what they were allowed to see. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten has asked for patience while investigations continue. It isn’t clear how long the FBI’s investigation into Brown’s death will continue. The investigation will mainly look into whether federal laws were broken during the arrest.

“Pattern-or-practice” investigations probe whether police departments routinely violate civil rights laws.

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