Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd is the rare officer conviction

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Ursula Perano
·3 min read
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Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was shown kneeling on George Floyd's neck last year in a video that shook the nation, was found guilty of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday.

Yes, but: Eight years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to face legal consequences or jail time over the deaths of Black people.

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Here's where other high-profile police killings stand:

Daunte Wright

Wright, 20, was shot dead by then-officer Kim Potter in Brooklyn Center, Minn., this month during a traffic stop.

Breonna Taylor

Taylor, 26, was shot dead during a no-knock search on her home by three plainclothes Louisville Metro Police officers in March 2020. Her boyfriend, who fired back at police, says he believed their home was being robbed.

  • Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved, was charged in September with wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly during the search. Activists argue that a charge directly related to Taylor's death is still needed.

  • The two other officers who fired shots, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, received no charges. The FBI is still investigating the case.

  • The Louisville Metro government agreed to a $12 million settlement package with Taylor's family. Taylor's death prompted cities and states nationwide to ban or limit the use of no-knock warrants.

Adam Toledo

Toledo, 13, was fatally shot last month by Chicago police officer Eric Stillman.

  • The city's independent police review board recently released the body camera footage of the shooting.

  • The shaky and grainy footage shows Toledo, who is Mexican American, had his arms at least partially raised when Stillman, who is white, fired a single round. Police, who were responding to reports of shots fired in the neighborhood, said Toledo had a handgun on him prior to the shooting.

  • Stillman has been placed on administrative leave. Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the incident.

Jacob Blake

Video of an Aug. 2020 encounter in Kenosha, Wis. showed white police officer Rusten Sheskey shooting Blake seven times in the back as Blake entered a vehicle with his children in the backseat. Blake was subsequently paralyzed.

  • Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely announced in January that Sheskey would not face charges.

Elijah McClain

McClain, 23, was taken off life support and subsequently died in Aurora, Colo. in Aug. 2019, after police put him in a chokehold and paramedics sedated him. The run-in resulted in McClain suffering from a heart attack and being declared brain dead.

  • Three police officers were responding to a call about a suspicious person when they stopped McClain, who was walking home from a convenience store.

  • An early investigation concluded that police did nothing wrong. But McClain's case was reassessed in 2020 following renewed attention.

  • A later review found no legal basis for officers to stop, frisk or use a chokehold on McClain.

  • Officers involved have been reassigned but no charges have been filed.

Daniel Prude

Prude, 41, died last year after being restrained by police in Rochester, New York. His family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

  • Body-cam footage of Prude's arrest shows him naked, in the snowy street. Police put a mesh hood over his head and pinned him to the ground. Several minutes later, Prude lost consciousness. He was taken off life support a week later.

  • A grand jury voted against charging three officers with criminally negligent homicide.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James released the grand jury transcripts this month — giving a rare glimpse of proceedings usually kept secret.

Go deeper: Convicting police officers is rare — even when caught on video.

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