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The case against Derek Chauvin looked formidable. Video footage captured him with his knee pressed against George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Former Minneapolis police colleagues testified against Chauvin. Medical experts convincingly tied Floyd’s death to Chauvin’s use of force.

But, legal experts said, Chauvin had one big factor in his favor: He was a police officer. And that meant prosecutors faced long odds.

In the end, they overcame those odds. Chauvin was found guilty on all counts Tuesday, becoming the rare police officer convicted of murder for killing someone while on duty.

That effort to separate Chauvin from police was “a wise choice” to appeal to any jurors who might be uneasy with some of the sharpest criticisms of police and calls to reform or defund them, said Daniel S. Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University.

“They didn’t want to make it a trial about policing, but rather a trial about a police officer gone bad,” Medwed said. “That was probably a very effective argument.”

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