Derek Chauvin: Charged. Vilified. Innocent?

  • Second-Degree Murder
  • Third-Degree Murder
  • Second-Degree Manslaughter

These are the charges that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin faces. I’d like to explore some of the facts surrounding the case. I will also look at what these charges mean for both Chauvin and the prosecutorial team. Finally, I will discuss the possibility that Derek Chauvin will be found “Not Guilty” under the evidence that will likely be presented during his trial.

The Known Facts of The Case

Then Minneapolis Police Officers Lane and Kueng responded to a call for service at approximately 2000 hours on May 25, 2020. The call was for a counterfeit $20 bill. The store clerk who called 9-1-1 stated that Floyd seemed “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.”

Upon arrival, Officers Lane and Kueng made contact with George Floyd, the subject of the call for service. Officer Lane and Floyd briefly struggled as Lane attempted to remove Floyd from the driver’s side of his vehicle and handcuff him. After the brief struggle, the officers escorted Floyd to a nearby patrol car.

On the way to the patrol car, the officers observed that Floyd was in some type of physical distress. Thus, they called for an ambulance to come to the scene. As the officers stood near him, Floyd stated multiple times, “Stay with me, man” and the officer agreed. I think his spontaneous utterance could relate to what he may have done before the officers took him from his car.  

Officers then attempted to place Floyd in the rear seat of a patrol vehicle. At that point, Floyd became increasingly aggressive and uncooperative. While resisting being placed in the patrol vehicle and still in a semi-upright position, Floyd immediately began yelling “I can’t breathe.”

The officers then took him to the ground. He immediately began kicking at the officers nearest his legs. Floyd then repeated, “I can’t breathe” multiple times once he was prone on the ground. It was in this position that both Chauvin and Floyd would remain during the entire encounter.

The Examination of the Squad Car

After Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Police Department squad car that Floyd was placed in was put in storage as evidence. When defense attorneys examined the car in preparing their defense, two chewed-up pills and one complete pill were found in the back seat area.

The state tested these pills and found Floyd’s DNA on them, most probably from his saliva. The analysis found that the pills contained methamphetamine and fentanyl. The implication is that Floyd had these pills in his mouth trying to conceal them from a search. But he probably spit them knowing the amount of meth and fentanyl they contained could be fatal for him.