MINNEAPOLIS: The 12 jurors who reached a verdict Tuesday in the case against Derek Chauvin had three counts to consider as they weighed whether he is responsible for the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He could be convicted on all of the charges, some or none. The decision was expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon.
The case comes down to two key questions – whether Chauvin caused Floyd’s death and whether his actions were reasonable – and each charge requires a different element of proof as to Chauvin’s state of mind.
Here’s an explanation of the charges:
How do the charges against Chauvin compare?
For all three charges, prosecutors had to prove that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable.
Prosecutors didn’t have to prove Chauvin’s restraint was the sole cause of Floyd’s death, but only that his conduct was a “substantial causal factor.” Chauvin is authorized to use force as a police officer, as long as that force is reasonable.
To convict on any of these counts, jurors must find that Chauvin used a level of force that would be considered unreasonable to an objective officer in his position. Hindsight can’t be a factor.
The charges differ when it comes to Chauvin’s state of mind – with second-degree murder requiring some level of intent – not an intent to kill but that Chauvin intended to apply unlawful force to Floyd – all the way down to manslaughter, which requires proof of culpable negligence.
What’s second-degree unintentional murder?
It’s also called felony murder. To prove this count, prosecutors had to show that Chauvin killed Floyd while committing or trying to commit a felony – in this case, third-degree assault. They didn’t have to prove Chauvin intended to kill Floyd, only that he intended to apply unlawful force that caused bodily harm.
Prosecutors called several medical experts who testified that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen because of the way he was restrained. A use of force expert said it was unreasonable to hold Floyd


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