A US jury has found former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin guilty of third-degree murder in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
The verdict was read in Hennepin County court on Tuesday as Black Lives Matter activists hit the streets to protest rampant police brutality in the United States.
Chauvin was found guilty of all the three criminal counts he was facing.
He faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
Derek Chauvin is the FIRST white police officer convicted for murdering a Black man in Minnesota history.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) April 20, 2021
In recent days, more than 3,000 National Guard soldiers, along with police officers, state police, sheriffs deputies and other law enforcement personnel have flooded the city.
After closing arguments, the jury began deliberations Monday afternoon.
Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd's neck while he pleaded, "I can't breathe."
The conviction should not be represented as a panacea for structured racism, riddling the law enforcement and justice system, many activists have noted.
From the NPC: The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is not justice. Justice looks like a world where George Floyd grows old, where Black people can live with dignity, where police no longer terrorize our streets. 1/4— DSA 🌹 (@DemSocialists) April 20, 2021
‘Fight for accountability far from over’
Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reacted to the outcome of the trial.
“While today’s verdict is encouraging, it does not diminish the urgency with which we must continue our efforts to combat the epidemic of police violence in our communities,” said Jaylani Hussein, CAIR Minnesota’s executive director. “George Floyd received justice today in that courtroom, now we must continue advocating for justice for all, everywhere: in the legislature, where we’re fighting to pass bills to increase police oversight and end qualified immunity, in our own communities, where we come together to heal and build trust and mutual understanding, and in the streets, where every day we are organizing, marching, and strengthening our movement.”
President Joe Biden called Floyd’s family, stressing the “overwhelming” amount of evidence for a guilty verdict.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling, so I waited till the jury was sequestered,” Biden said of his conversation with the Floyd family during brief remarks in the Oval Office.
Derek Chauvin is only the sixth police officer to have been convicted of murdering someone while on duty in the last 15 years. There are thousands of Derek Chauvins out there still working as cops.— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) April 20, 2021
Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama said the jury did the “right thing.”
“For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation,” the Obamas said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?”
The establishment wanted to use George Floyd case & the conviction of Chauvin as evidence that the system can work, offering Chauvin up as the sacrificial lamb to preserve the policing system. But public awareness & the national conversation has moved beyond them to demand more.— DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES (@BreeNewsome) April 20, 2021
“In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial,” they said.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) also released a statement in reaction to verdict.
"We hope this guilty verdict begins to show that white supremacy will not win. White supremacy has no place in democracy, especially one that is supposed to guarantee us our freedom to live," the statement said. "But let us also be clear that this still does not bring our loved ones back. We do not get George Floyd back. His daughter and family have to grow up without him. His family continues his legacy through the George Floyd Memorial Foundation."
Derek Chauvin was a sacrifice to maintain the illusion that it’s an individual, not the system that’s at fault.— Imani Barbarin, MAGC | Crutches&Spice ♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) April 20, 2021
Make no mistake, the system is at fault.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released a statement, noting that efforts to take on police brutality were still "far from over.”
“Police are here to protect, not lynch,” it read. “We will not rest until all in our community have the right to breathe. The chapter on Derrick Chauvin may be closed, but the fight for police accountability and respect for Black lives is far from over."
It was immediately clear to any fair-minded person that Chauvin murdered Floyd and it took nearly a year for the US justice system to come to that conclusion.
Other high-profile cases of people of color losing their lives at the hands of police have ended with no accountability for the law enforcement in more recent years.
Only between the Chauvin trial on March 29, 2020, and last Saturday, at least 64 people were killed by law enforcement officers nationwide.
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