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Protestors shout "hands up; don't shoot" in Athens, Georgia on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Two non-violent protests started in the afternoon, both calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis six days earlier. As the evening progressed, police forces surrounded the intersection with armored trucks, officers in riot gear and police cars. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from the University of Georgia regarding the verdict, as well as students' reactions to the statement.

A jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder in the second and third degree, as well as second-degree manslaughter in a verdict on Tuesday afternoon.

The trial determining the sentencing for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd last May began March 29, and the weeks following have consisted of testimonies from witnesses, law enforcement and medical experts, as well as consistent back-and-forth from the defense and prosecution.

University of Georgia students and professors expressed somber celebration over the verdict.

The trial

Much of the trial was dedicated to determining the cause of Floyd’s death. The prosecution argued the cause was Chauvin’s chokehold, while the defense claimed it was “complications of [Floyd’s] drug use,” according to The New York Times. 

The first week of Chauvin’s trial was dedicated to testimonies from in-person witnesses of the killing, including Darnella Frazier, who recorded the viral video that sparked protests all around the world. Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, Medaria Arradondo, confirmed on the witness stand that Chauvin broke protocol in his handling of Floyd’s arrest and should have offered medical aid once Floyd slipped from consciousness.

Medical experts like Dr. Martin Tobin, an expert pulmonologist, and Louisville Metro Police Department surgeon Dr. Bill Smock explained Floyd’s death was caused by a lack of oxygen rather than a drug overdose. Tobin also confirmed he “saw no evidence of an overdose,” a claim challenged by defense-appointed Dr. David Fowler, who said Chauvin’s knee did not injure Floyd, and would therefore classify Floyd’s death as “undetermined.”

Chauvin himself invoked the fifth amendment, refusing to testify.

Statement from UGA

Tuesday evening, UGA released a statement regarding the verdict.

“Over the past year, we have been hurt, frustrated and exhausted by events unfolding across the country, precipitated by the murder of George Floyd,” the statement read.  “Today’s verdict provides us, as members of the University of Georgia community, an opportunity to reflect, to heal, and to chart a productive path forward in support of one another.”

UGA offered resources for mental health, including Student Care and Outreach, Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the Employee Assistance Program. The statement also mentioned making use of spaces in the Tate Student Center for discussion and reflection. For more information on these spaces, the statement said to email tatecenter@uga.edu.

Some students, however, perceived the statement as performative and tweeted their discontent.