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This week, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges related to the May 25, 2020 murder of 46-year-old George Floyd. Chauvin will be sentenced on June 16 and faces up to 75 years in prison for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
A mural with the likeness of Floyd was vandalized in downtown Houston, Texas on Thursday, just two days after the guilty verdicts in the Chauvin trial were read, according to the Houston Police Department (HPD).
The words “NI ** ERS LIVES DONT MATTER” were explicitly scribbled on the wall, which is a couple of miles from Houston’s Third Ward, where Floyd grew up.
HPD chief Troy Finner urged the townspeople to focus on maintaining a community of trust, rather than the “act of a stupid individual”.
“We celebrate who we are. A sophisticated and diverse large city and we will show the nation how we stand up. This is what we should be thinking about right now,” he said.
According to investigators, there are no known surveillance cameras in the immediate vicinity.
Although a suspect has not been arrested in connection with the HPD investigation, local artists have already managed to match the colors of the mural and save the artwork.
UPDATE: While I was there at the defaced #GeorgeFloyd mural, the artists who painted it showed up to cover up the offensive message. They will pick up the correct paint colors and come back to fix the mural. They hope to have it finished by the end of the day. # abc13 pic.twitter.com/WDFaNi5z4T
– Chauncy Glover (@ChauncyOnTV) April 22, 2021
The vandalism comes just days after a jury found former Minneapolis officer Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The jurors reached their unanimous decisions after about 10 hours of deliberation.
While many Americans believe the verdict is a step towards holding law enforcement accountable for acts of brutality, others have argued that the jury may have felt pressured to obtain guilty verdicts due to concerns of social unrest.
Questions have also been raised about US President Joe Biden’s public request for a “just verdict”.
A Minnesota court announced Friday that sentencing in the Chauvin case is currently scheduled for 1:30 pm local time on June 16.
The former Minneapolis officer faces up to 75 years in prison: up to 40 years for involuntary second degree murder; up to 25 years for third degree murder; and up to 10 years for second degree manslaughter.
However, prosecutors in the case demanded that customary sentencing guidelines be dropped due to a number of factors, including the fact that Chauvin was a uniformed officer and that his crimes were witnessed by several children. A 9-year-old girl who testified in the case said watching officers detain Floyd on May 25 made her “sad and a little crazy.”
Chauvin has 60 days to appeal the verdict.