Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's conviction Tuesday for the murder of George Floyd was an exceedingly rare event for cops involved in fatal encounters.
Philip Stinson of Bowling Green State University tells the New York Times that there have been only seven murder convictions of officers for fatal police shootings since 2005.
Based on that data, the chances of a killing by police leading to a murder conviction are about 1 in 2,000.
Despite those odds, a Minneapolis jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts in Derek Chauvin's murder trial this week after about 10 hours of deliberation. The defense's case was undoubtedly buoyed by the shocking video footage depicting Floyd's murder beneath Chauvin's knee.
The incident set off weeks of high tension and protests across the U.S. last year. Most in the nation breathed a sigh of relief at the guilty verdict, including Floyd's family members who had repeatedly expressed concerns about rioting if Chauvin was allowed to walk.
Chauvin will be sentenced in about eight weeks. He faces up to 40 years in prison for the most serious count. The Times reports that the typical prison sentence for second-degree murder in Minneapolis is 12-and-a-half years in prison. Prosecutors have asked for a longer sentence for Chauvin.
Political leaders around the country were quick to note that Chauvin's conviction was more a small step towards racial justice than a referendum. Congressional democrats used the news to draw attention to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which they hope will dismantle systemic racism that may have led to his murder.
For now, Chauvin's conviction remains an exception — and an extraordinary one at that.
"It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the Vice President just referred to," President Joe Biden said while addressing the nation Tuesday evening. "The systemic racism that's a stain on our nation's soul, the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans."
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