Gov. Spencer Cox urges calm community response to Chauvin verdict

Derek Chauvin. File Photo courtesy Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 19, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Spencer Cox has issued a statement in anticipation of a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

“We understand that tensions around the Derek Chauvin trial remain high,” the statement issued Monday evening said. “We acknowledge and respect the judicial process that has played out and the weighty decisions made by the judge and jury. As the verdict is announced, we urge Utahns to respond within the bounds guaranteed by the First Amendment. We will respect personal safety, life and property. Any threats against such will not be tolerated.”

The jury in the murder trial of Chauvin began deliberations Monday after nearly six hours of closing arguments and rebuttals by prosecutors and the defense.

Jury deliberations are now over for the day; they officially ended at 7 p.m. The court did not indicate what time the panel, which is being sequestered, is expected to resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sent the jurors off to deliberate about 3 p.m. with a warning to not let “bias, prejudice, passion, sympathy or public opinion influence your decision.”

Before doing so, he dismissed the two alternate jurors, leaving the remaining 12 to be escorted out of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom and into sequestration.

Chauvin, 45, who declined to testify in the trial, faces conviction on a charge of second- or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter for George Floyd’s death.

If convicted of the most serious charge, second-degree murder, he would face as many as 40 years in prison. He’d face up to 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.

All 12 jurors must agree on a charge to reach a verdict. One dissenting juror would result in a hung jury.

The end of the trial comes about 11 months after Floyd’s death on a Minneapolis street on May 25, 2020 that set off protests across America organized against police brutality and racism.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.

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