Officer Derek Chauvin: who is the Minneapolis police officer arrested over the death of George Floyd – and what is second-degree murder?

Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder.

Protestors in Minneapolis have responded with anger following the death of George Floyd in police custody (Getty Images)
Protestors in Minneapolis have responded with anger following the death of George Floyd in police custody (Getty Images)

Minneapolis has been gripped with demonstrations after footage circulated of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man, pleading for air as a police officer knelt on his neck.

The police officer in question is Derek Chauvin, who, along with three other officers, was fired following the incident. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes.

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Clashes between officers and protestors have been taking place since Floyd’s death on May 25, with demonstrations taking place outside of Chauvin’s house.

Derek Chauvin has now been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

At a court hearing Derek Chauvin’s bail was set at $1.25m.

Who is Derek Chauvin?

Derek Chauvin, 44, is a 19-year veteran with the Minneapolis Police Department.

According to department records Chauvin has been involved in several police-involved shootings during his career.

Chauvin was placed on leave in 2011 following the shooting of an indigenous man, according to the Daily Beast.

In 2008 Chauvin responded to a domestic assault call, shooting and wounding Ira Latrell Toles. Toles is said to have reached for an officer’s gun when Chauvin shot him in the abdomen.

Chauvin and five other officers shot and killed Wayne Reyes, 42, in 2006, when he allegedly pulled a shotgun on responding officers.

What is second degree murder?

Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder on May 29.

Chauvin had previously been charged with third degree murder, which by Minnesota defines as the causing of death “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree.”

Now Chauvin will be required to defend himself against the charge of second degree murder.

According to Minnesota statute someone who is guilty of second degree murder is defined as a person who “causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation."

A person who is found guilty of third degree murder faces no more than 25 years in prison, while a person who is found guilty of second degree murder could face up to 40 years behind bars.