A former Minneapolis police officer called Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict a 'tragedy,' saying he fears it will start a 'new trend' of sending cops to prison

Ashley Collman
·3-min read
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Derek Chauvin listening as his verdict is read. Court TV via AP
  • A former Minneapolis police officer said he was surprised by Derek Chauvin's conviction.

  • He said he believed the jury was "under tremendous pressure to 'make it right' for George Floyd."

  • "The whole thing is a tragedy," he said.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

What was a day of justice for the Black Lives Matter movement was a day of disappointment for one former Minneapolis police officer, who told Insider he was shocked by Derek Chauvin's conviction and called it a "tragedy."

The former officer spoke on the condition of anonymity, but his identity is known to Insider. He worked for the Minneapolis Police Department for nearly three decades before quitting days before Chauvin's trial began.

Insider spoke with him less than 24 hours after a jury found his former colleague guilty on murder and manslaughter charges in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. Floyd, a Black man, died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for minutes while trying to arrest him on suspicion of passing a fake $20 bill. Floyd's death reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement and set off worldwide protests.

In a previous interview, the former officer said he believed Floyd died of a drug overdose because of the amount of fentanyl that was in his system, but experts testified at the trial that Floyd's death was because of a lack of oxygen caused by Chauvin's pressure on his neck.

The former officer said the jury finding Chauvin guilty on all three charges was "not at all" what he expected, and called it a "tragedy."

"The jury got it wrong, I believe. But you gotta respect their decision," the former officer said.

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People at the site of George Floyd's death react to the news of Chauvin's guilty verdict on April 20. Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty

'I knew he was screwed'

Since the verdict was announced Tuesday afternoon, the former officer has been speaking to former coworkers, who also expressed disappointment with the trial, he said.

"They all believe that Derek didn't stand a chance at a fair trial," he said.

He added that one of the coworkers described Chauvin as a "sacrificial lamb."

The former officer said he was especially shocked at how quickly the jury deliberated - just over 10 hours - before delivering the guilty verdict.

"When they came back that quick, I knew he was screwed. I knew it," he said. "I've never seen, in all my years of work, a jury come back that quick on such serious charges. Never."

He said he felt the jury "was under tremendous pressure to 'make it right' for George Floyd."

The courthouse and surrounding area were fortified throughout the trial, and the jury was sequestered at a hotel throughout its deliberations.

A 'new trend' of sending officers to prison

The former officer said he's glad that he left policing. He said he believes the Chauvin decision could result in more officers going to jail in the future, specifically the officers involved in recent police killings in Chicago; Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; and Columbus, Ohio.

"It's the new trend now. They're sending cops to prison," he said.

The three other officers who were at the scene during Chauvin's fatal arrest - Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng - are to be tried together later this year.

When asked what he would say to Chauvin and his family, if given the opportunity, the former officer said he would want them to know he's sorry.

"The whole thing is a tragedy," he said. "George Floyd dying is a tragedy for sure. What happened to Chauvin's family and his wife is horrible." (Kellie Chauvin requested a divorce last May, which was granted in February.)

"The whole thing is just sad. It's really upsetting to me," the former officer said. "It's a lose-lose deal for everybody."

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