Former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of homicide and manslaughter within the dying of George Floyd
A jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all three cases related to the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, last year.
Chauvin was not expressive when Judge Peter Cahill announced his convictions of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. The verdicts were read by the jury the day after the deliberations began.
Video of Chauvin holding his knee on or near the back of Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes last May while Floyd was prone and handcuffed, sparked months of protests and revived the movement against police brutality against black men .
Second degree murder is sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison. Third degree murder has a maximum sentence of 25 years. Second degree manslaughter has a maximum of 10 years. Sentencing guidelines call for rates below the maximum.
Cahill said the sentencing would take place in eight weeks. After the verdicts were read, Chauvin was handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom.
"This case marks a turning point in American history for law enforcement accountability and sends a clear message that we hope will be heard clearly in every city and state," said Ben Crump, an attorney for Floyd's family , in a statement.
President Joe Biden, in a phone call to Floyd's family that Crump recorded and posted online, promised to make meaningful police reform, telling them that "nothing will make everything better, but at least now there is some justice."
Vice President Kamala Harris, who also spoke on the phone, said, "We are going to make something good of this tragedy."
Chauvin's high profile trial began in March and ended Monday in a barbed wire-fortified courthouse in Minneapolis.
People are responding following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of the death of George Floyd on April 20, 2021 outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
The case spearheaded the anti-racist movement that gained momentum during former President Donald Trump's tenure and caught fire across the country in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The video of Floyd's death became a vivid example of the way black men are often treated by law enforcement. Whether chauvin was found guilty or acquitted was widely viewed as a test of the American judicial system.
Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general who oversaw law enforcement, said at a news conference that "George Floyd is important. He was loved by his family and friends."
"He was important because he was human, and there's no way you can turn away from that reality," Ellison said. He said the verdict was not justice in itself, but "accountability, the first step towards justice".
After it became known that the jury would announce its verdict on Tuesday afternoon, Biden canceled planned comments on an infrastructure proposal that he wants to pass in Congress. He was due to address the verdict later on Tuesday.
Top Democrats in Congress welcomed the decision. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said in a statement that the "guilty verdict serves as an official proclamation of what so many of us have known for almost a year: George Floyd was murdered by an officer in charge of protection was obliged and serve. "
"However, we should not confuse a guilty verdict in this case as evidence that the persistent problem of police misconduct has been resolved or that the gap between law enforcement agencies and so many of the communities they serve has been bridged," Schumer said. "We must continue to try hard to fundamentally change the police forces across the country."
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama said in a joint statement, "Today a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more."
"True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that black Americans are treated differently every day," the Obamas said. "We need to recognize that millions of our friends, family members and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement will be their last."
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is being handcuffed after a jury found him guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter when George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 20 , 2021 in a still image from video.
Pool via Reuters
People close to Floyd were preparing for possible outcomes Tuesday.
"I think it will mean change; it will mean change. It is a first step on the long road to recovery," said Floyd's friend Courteney Batya Ross in an interview on CNN on Tuesday, addressing a possible guilty verdict. "I think Floyd came here for a reason," she said.
After the verdict was read, festivities broke out in the courthouse and Cup Foods, where Floyd was killed.
Trials of three of the other officers involved in Floyd's arrest, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, are due to begin in August.
Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, previously stated that his client would appeal a guilty verdict on the grounds that the jury may have been improperly influenced by outside forces. Nelson cited comments from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Urging protesters to be confrontational if the jury acquitted Chauvin.
Biden, who pledged to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system, failed to express his views on the case while it was ongoing. On Tuesday, when the jury was seized, he said he was praying that the jury would come to the "right verdict".
The tense atmosphere surrounding the trial has been heightened in recent weeks by a spate of police killings that have sparked protests.
On April 11, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was killed by a police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The officer, Kimberly Potter, later claimed that she thought she was using a taser. Potter has resigned and has been charged with second degree manslaughter.
People are responding following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of the death of George Floyd on April 20, 2021 in George Floyd Square, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Adrees Latif | Reuters
Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino, was shot dead by a Chicago police officer on March 29. Footage of the seventh grade murder, which caused fear in Chicago and across the country, was released during the Chauvin trial.
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